Missouri River Flooding – Iowa State Joint Information Center Update

July 15, 2011

This update is provided by the Joint Information Center at the State Emergency Operations Center.



MEDIA CONFERENCE CALLS The next weekly media conference call will be held July 20 at 3:30 p.m.

  • Conference Call Dial-In Number – 1-800-645-8878
  • Conference Code: 003252

Same conference call information to be used on each call.



Lieutenant Governor and HSEMD Chief of Operations Visit Western Iowa Today

NEW – Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD) Chief of Operations Joyce Flinn will visit the flood affected communities of Onawa and Council Bluffs today, Thursday, July 14, 2011. The following events are open to the media:

  • 12:30 p.m. Lt. Gov. Reynolds and HSEMD Chief of Operations Joyce Flinn hold press conference regarding Missouri River flooding
DOT Rest area; Interstate 29 at mile marker 110 - Onawa, IA
  • 2 p.m. Lt. Gov. Reynolds and HSEMD Chief of Operations Joyce Flinn tour Playland Park Levee
I-480 and North 41st Street - Council Bluffs, IA
  • 4 p.m. Lt. Gov. Reynolds and HSEMD Chief of Operations Joyce Flinn hold press conference regarding Missouri River flooding
Council Bluffs City Council Chambers, 209 Pearl Street - Council Bluffs, IA


Disaster Assistance Available for Small Businesses

NEW – Small, non-farm businesses in 14 Iowa counties are now eligible to apply for low interest disaster loans from the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Eligible primary counties are Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie and Woodbury; eligible neighboring counties are Cass, Cherokee, Crawford, Ida, Montgomery, Page, Plymouth and Shelby.

SBA eligibility covers both the flood-related economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers businesses directly impacted by the disaster. Non-farm businesses, agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private, non-profit organizations may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs). Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. These enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency (FSA) about the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration. 

The deadline to apply for these loans is March 8, 2012. Applicants may apply online via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling SBA toll-free at 800-659-2955, e-mailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov, or visiting SBA’s Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. Hearing impaired individuals may call 800-877-8339. 

Heat Affecting Iowa This Week

NEW – National Weather Service forecasts indicate high temperatures during the week. This is a concern for many people engaged in flood response efforts. For a list of ways to protect your health in high temperatures and humidity, view the Iowa Department of Public Health’s press release at http://www.idph.state.ia.us/IdphNews/Reader.aspx?id=3024FDD6-D9F3-4751-853C-05A42EA8D457. For locations of cooling stations in your area, contact local officials.


Bleach in Basements

The Iowa Department of Public Health has received questions about leaving bleach in basements that may flood. Current rumors incorrectly assume that by leaving open containers of bleach or bleach tablets used in swimming pools in their basements, the chemicals will mix with flood water and prevent mold. This is not true.

Although bleach can be effective in cleaning and sanitizing basements after flood waters recede, there is no research to show that leaving open containers or tablets of bleach in basements prior to flooding is effective in preventing mold growth. In fact, leaving bleach out in the open, especially in large quantities, could negatively affect the health of you and your family. To learn more, visit http://www.idph.state.ia.us/EmergencyResponse/Flooding.aspx.


Foreclosure prevention

Disaster-impacted homeowners that feel they may begin to struggle with their mortgage payment are encouraged to call Iowa Mortgage Help. Iowa Mortgage Help is a free, confidential mortgage counseling service for Iowa homeowners. Iowa Mortgage Help does not offer direct financial assistance. For more information, call 877-622-4866 (if calling from Iowa) or 515-331-8081 (if calling from outside of Iowa), or visit the website at www.IowaMortgageHelp.com.


Numerous shelters remain on standby and are ready to receive residents if needed.




  • Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division (HSEMD)
    • HSEMD, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Small Business Administration (SBA) and county officials conducted preliminary damage assessments on July 6 in Woodbury, Monona, Harrison, Pottawattamie, Mills and Fremont counties. Information collected during the assessments is being evaluated and will be used to determine if damages that have occurred thus far are sufficient to warrant a request for federal Individual Assistance Program funding.
    • HSEMD Operations staff visited in Fremont, Mills and Pottawattamie counties with the emergency management coordinators, local officials and impacted citizens. Visits to Harrison, Monona and Woodbury counties will be planned.
    • HSEMD continues to work closely with personnel from various local, state, federal, voluntary and faith-based organizations as well as private partners in response to flooding along the Missouri River in western Iowa.
    • The State Emergency Operations Center will be staffed as warranted to respond to requests from impacted counties.
    • o   HSEMD has requested technical assistance from the Army Corps of Engineers for all counties along the Missouri River from Woodbury County south.
  • Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service
    • Ongoing support of missions assigned, including access to volunteer and AmeriCorps resources.
  • Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS)
    • The DHS Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team (DBHRT) was invited to and will be attending town meetings in Missouri Valley and Hamburg. The DBHRT continues to provide assistance in declared counties as requested. For additional information on resources provided by the DBHRT, visit http://www.iowadbhrt.org/.
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
    • People who have been evacuated because of flooding along the Missouri River will be able to camp in certain areas of Iowa State Parks without having to pay a camping fee or having to move after 14 consecutive days. Evacuees may call the DNR at 515-281-8004 to check on availability of campsites for long-term use.
    • DNR is providing technical assistance to waste water facilities, water supplies, industry, fuel stations, etc.
    • Weather-related park closure information is available at http://www.iowadnr.gov/parks/construction/weather.html
  • Iowa Department of Corrections (DOC)
    • Ongoing support of missions assigned. Continued coordination of inmate crews to assist with sandbagging operations as requested. Currently all missions have been fulfilled.
  • Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS)
    • The DPS continues to provide aerial photography of impacts to affected counties. Areas of focus include surveys of Highway 175 Bridge and anhydrous tanks in support of DOT and IDALS.
    • The DPS continues to monitor roads, road closures and other public safety issues.
  • Iowa National Guard (NG)
    • National Guard is performing levee patrol duties in Mills and Pottawattamie counties.
    • National Guard liaisons are in place in county EOCs.
    • Providing support through Guard Emergency Situational Awareness Contacts in impacted counties.
  • Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS)
    • Continual monitoring of impacts to agriculture sector.
  • Iowa Department of Public Health (DPH)
    • Continued support in responding to public health concerns that have been raised in impacted counties.
    • Continual monitoring of the situation with this week’s added issue of high heat indices.
    • Responding to an inquiry from Pottawattamie County on the need for vaccinations.
    • Working with FEMA on vector monitoring and control issues.
    • The Iowa Department of Public Health has posted flood-related health information at: www.idph.state.ia.us/EmergencyResponse/Flooding.aspx.
  • Iowa Finance Authority (IFA)
    • Foreclosure prevention counseling: Disaster-impacted homeowners that feel they may begin to struggle with their mortgage payment are encouraged to call Iowa Mortgage Help for free, confidential mortgage counseling. Iowa Mortgage Help does not offer direct financial assistance. For more information, call 877-622-4866 (if calling from Iowa) or 515-331-8081 (if calling from outside of Iowa), or visit the website at www.IowaMortgageHelp.com.
    • IFA has developed a rental housing resource guide for individuals who are seeking long term housing due to flooding. Access the guide at: www.iowahomelandsecurity.org/disasters/disaster2011.html and select “Housing Resources.”
  • Iowa State University Extension
    • ISU Extension has compiled a list of resources on dealing with stress, flood clean up, financial concerns, tips for businesses, crops, and livestock to help Iowans prepare for and recover from floods. Access these resources at: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/topic/recovering-disasters.
    • County Extension personnel in flood-impacted counties are responding to concerns.
    • ISU Extension has the Iowa Concern Hotline, 800-447-1985, that Iowans can call for help and referrals for dealing with stress, crisis and loss in times of disaster.



  • Fremont
  • Mills
  • Monona
  • Woodbury
    • Levee patrol duties are being performed by the Sioux City Public Works Department and the Sioux City Police Department.
    • The Army Corps of Engineers continues to provide technical assistance as requested.
    • http://www.woodburyiowa.com/



  • Donations of items such as clothing, food, furniture, etc, are NOT needed at this time. Unsolicited donations cause additional staffing and storage problems that local officials do not have the resources to manage.
  • If you want to help, cash is best. It doesn’t need to be sorted, stored or distributed, and cash allows the receiving voluntary agency to direct the donation to the most urgent needs. To donate cash, visit www.aidmatrixnetwork.org/CashDonations/Default2.aspx?ST=Iowa
  • If you wish to make a donation to a local organization, information on these funds can be found on the websites listed in the “County Updates” section of this release.
  • Those wishing to volunteer in a disaster-related capacity may sign up to do so at www.volunteeriowa.org.

SCAMS Iowans along the Missouri River should be aware of the potential for disaster-related scams and price gouging. For information, visit the Iowa Attorney General’s website at: www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.gov.