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Rebuilding Iowa: An Overview of Iowa Storms '08

posted on September 11, 2008 at 4:45 PM

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A University of Iowa study reports 25% of the state’s residents say they were affected by the floods.  Five percent say they were directly affected.  The state’s economy is still working through the additional costs the flood has placed upon it.  Individuals are working toward financial recovery as well.  Many are doing so while carrying heavy emotional burdens.

From the very beginning it was understood, up-stream and down, the floods of '08 would be a challenge that would extend well beyond the inundation.  

From the water’s edge the power and menace of the floods of 08 were more than apparent, but it is from the sky that the enormity of the 08 disaster is best seen.

Hundreds of square miles were inundated.  Despite the efforts of citizens, government officials and volunteers about a third of Iowa was affected by a swath of flood water that swept from the north central part of the state to the south east, sending a series of rivers over banks and dikes into fields and streets.  

The financial toll is at best a snapshot. According to the 45 day report to the governor:

Agriculture and the environment suffered losses in the range of 2.5 to 3 billion dollars.

The loss of housing in the report approaches two billion dollars. 

Physical damage as well as commercial interruption to thousands of business exceeds 5 billion dollars, while the damage to the state’s public infrastructure and transportation system is in the neighborhood of 2 billion dollars.

Losses to educational institutions, public, private and higher education, including the University of Iowa, were estimated to be in excess of 300 million dollars.

Government officials, local state and federal have assessed the damage, but citizens are worried about the delay in getting financial relief.

Columbus Junction Mayor, Dan Wilson, may well speak for all the afflicted: 

Dan Wilson, Columbus Junction mayor: "Our congressman and the governor and lots of our elected officials have paid close attention to what's happening here and we've got a lot of visitors to Columbus Junction which we appreciate.  The most difficult thing is how all those, that interest and those political promises get translated into dollars that actually get back to us so we can help people.” 

Tags: disasters FEMA floods HEAT Iowa Iowa-storms-08

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