Governor Branstad tours Rock Rapids and Rock Valley, IA after de - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Governor Branstad tours Rock Rapids and Rock Valley, IA after declaring them disaster areas


As the flood situation continues to be dealt with in Northwest Iowa towns of Rock Rapids and Rock Valley, the Governor of Iowa has made stops in the towns to assess the damage and speak with those dealing with the disaster.

Both Governor Branstad and Mark Skelton, the Administrator of the Emergency Management Division for the state of Iowa, visited to get a firsthand look at the flood damage in Rock Valley and Rock Rapids and said they wanted to do all they can to help.

Flood waters continue to flow through the streets of Rock Valley, Iowa. Governor Terry Branstad visited the town to survey the damage on Wednesday and said the state wants to do all they can to help.

"We want to make sure that we're maximizing state assistance and trying to see if we can get federal FEMA assistance as well," Governor Branstad said.

There are two types of disaster aid for property owners available from FEMA, both an individual disaster fund, as well as a commercial property fund. The city of Rock Valley is still waiting to see if they qualify but state representatives say the Iowa government is fighting for them.

"We certainly want to commit our effort to work closely with you in the future to advocate for you to FEMA so we can get the aid that we can get for you, and help you get back on your feet," Mark Skelton, Administrator of the Iowa HSEMD.

Rock Valley mayor Ken Van Otterloo says that just having the Governor and his staff here to help, made him and the community feel more at ease.

"They're willing to help, and they're there for us. That's great to know, that we've got them behind us," Van Otterloo said.

Governor Branstad said that the thing he was most impressed with on his tour was the spirit of the people of Rock Valley, in the face of so much damage.

"In a community of 3,300 people, they had 1,700 volunteers, helping sandbag, they evacuated people from Hope Haven. It's just a great spirit here, and people have done a lot to help each other and try to minimize the damage. But, the damage is considerable," Gov. Branstad said.

Moving forward, Mayor Van Otterloo says he's optimistic, because the river has started to recede, but they're not letting down their guard yet.

"... the berms will be staying today, for sure, and maybe the rest of the week, just to keep everybody safe until we know that the river is going to go down and stay down," Van Otterloo said.

Governor Branstad says they're going to continue to try and get federal aid for those with property damage.

He says as far as the crop damage goes, that's going to be handled at the Federal level, so farmers need to contact the Farm Services Administration with any questions.

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