Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is requesting a federal disaster declaration in the wake of the devastating bird flu outbreak in the state. The deadly disease has affected more than 33 million birds in Iowa. The request is for Buena Vista, Sioux, Webster and Wright counties, but additional counties may be added to the request as additional losses are identified.
Branstad is requesting the following:
Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling, Disaster Case Management, and Disaster Legal Services, as well as any other Stafford Act programs appropriate for those who have lost employment and income as a result of the HPAI outbreak for Buena Vista, Sioux, Webster and Wright counties.
Allow the Federal Highway Administration to issue a tonnage waiver on the state’s federal aid roadways, such as Interstates 29 and 35. This waiver would accelerate the disposal process and reduce the likelihood of spreading HPAI while transporting poultry to disposal sites.
“With a disaster of this magnitude adversely affecting Iowa farmers, producers and the workers they employ, I am requesting federal assistance from President Obama and the Federal Emergency Management Agency,” said Branstad. “Unemployment assistance from the federal government, in addition to efforts already occurring inside our state, will help displaced workers. In addition, issuing a tonnage waiver will allow for efficient disposal and cleanup of affected sites. Given the unprecedented nature of this disaster, it is my hope that the President will expedite this request to provide federal assistance as soon as possible.”