UPDATE: Presidential disaster approved for 19 Iowa counties - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Presidential disaster approved for 19 Iowa counties

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President Obama has approved a major disaster declaration for 19 Iowa counties because of storms and flooding in September and October.

That makes federal money available to state and local government agencies and some nonprofit organizations in Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Des Moines, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Howard, Linn, Mitchell, Winneshiek, and Wright.

The money will help perform emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms and flooding that occurred between Sept. 21 and Oct. 3.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

Most of the counties are in northeast and north-central Iowa but Des Moines County in southeast Iowa also is included.

That money will go far for the city of Cedar Falls.  Mayor Jim Brown says the city has a bill of about $900,000 for their efforts to mitigate and deal with recent flooding.

"So it's going to save the taxpayers the dollars in terms of the sandbags, the streets, time, overtime, and the costs associated with those," he said.

This is great news for the City of Elkader, who would've had a hard time paying for a new Riverwalk, after their last one was damaged by the floods.

"They have reviewed our projects and told us what would be eligible, and said, we know you want to get this fixed before fall," said Jennifer Cowsert, Elkader's city administrator.

And while this declaration only applies to local governments and select non-profits, Brown says there will be grant money available for individual assistance.

"It means a lot. Folks that are in need, folks that have been devastated with their homes and their livelihoods. So obviously, having a cushion of a relief that they now have more options is far better than the alternative," he said.

Brown says if you are interested in finding out more about that individual assistance, you can contact the Cedar Falls City Hall.

KWWL's Brad Hanson contributed to this report.

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