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Moville flooding

A vehicle is shown partially submerged by floodwaters in Moville March 14. The deadline is July 1 to apply for FEMA disaster relief funding for Iowa counties impacted by flooding this spring. 

SIOUX CITY -- More than 2,400 Iowans have registered their flood-damaged property with the Federal Emergency Management Agency since severe flooding struck the state this spring. 

For residents of the nine federally designated Iowa counties who have not yet registered, the deadline is July 1. 

Residents and businesses in Fremont, Harrison, Louisa, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie, Scott, Shelby and Woodbury counties may be eligible for FEMA grants (which are tax-exempt and do not need to be repaid) or Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans to help rebuild after flood damage. 

Communities throughout Iowa and Nebraska were affected by severe flooding and storms roughly from March 12 through May 16. 

Deanna Frazier, a FEMA media relations manager, said 2,484 residents or businesses have submitted applications to FEMA since the disaster. In Woodbury County, 476 registered with the agency, while 70 registered in Monona County. 

"Some of them have been referred to SBA" for low-interest loans, Frazier said. 

On average, Frazier said Iowa residents who need FEMA assistance after the flooding have gotten grants of more than $10,000. Nationwide, the average grant is closer $3,000 to $5,000. 

The larger grants given to Iowa flood survivors is an indication of how severe the damage was in some places. 

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"The damage here in Iowa was of a severity that, additional funds are needed to help disaster survivors recover," she said. 

Many cases submitted to FEMA are still being processed. Frazier said the agency can make a determination in as little as 21 days, but that's assuming there are no issues with the application. 

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"When you register, you have to provide the address of your damaged property, a contact address where you are now, as well as contact phone number, your Social Security number, and the important thing is insurance information -- even if you did not have flood insurance, we need a (notification) from your insurance company saying 'I do not have flood insurance,'" she said. "And then also bank routing information so your grant money can go directly into your checking account." 

Applicants also need to show proof of residence, and owners need to provide proof of ownership. 

Some applications are rejected because they do not have all the necessary paperwork; Frazier said the applicant just needs to get the needed documentation to FEMA to get the process rolling again. 

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"Many times, you may get a determination letter that says you've been denied -- but you have to continue reading the entire letter, because it will tell you what is necessary in order to complete the registration, many times it's information that was left out of the original registration," she said. 

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Even if additional documentation is later needed, Frazier said the important thing is to file a claim before the deadline. Applicants can submit additional materials at a subsequent date as needed. 

"Go ahead and register, even if you don't have all of the information, because that will at least get you in the system," Frazier said. 

Residents who have already repaired or begun repairs need to provide before-and-after photos showing the damage and receipts and invoices for the repairs; for those who have not, FEMA will send an inspector to survey the damage. 

The maximum FEMA disaster grant is $34,900. "While we realize that that may not replace an entire home, it's designed to get people back into safe, sanitary and functional home condition, so they can begin the recovery process," Frazier said. 

Which is where the SBA low-interest loans come in: "Between (FEMA and SBA funding), we can likely get survivors back to their pre-disaster condition," Frazier said. 

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