Disaster assistance applications up to 5,700 households in Nebraska as FEMA deadline nears

The number of people seeking disaster assistance has jumped as the deadlines near, according to FEMA officials.

About 5,700 households in Nebraska have applied for assistance, along with about 1,800 in Iowa.

Many millions in aid have already been given

So far, Nebraska has received nearly $78 million in disaster payments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration. This includes federal flood insurance payments, grants to households and low interest loans.

Of that:

  • $29.5 million in low interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters and businesses.
  • $26.5 million in flood insurance payments.
  • $19.3 million in outright grants to families and individuals for home repair and replacement and rental assistance.
  • $2.38 million in grants to replace essential personal property and to help with medical, dental, legal and other disaster expenses.

In Iowa, more than $12 million in grants have been awarded to a total of 1,224 households. In addition, there have low interest loans, flood insurance payments and personal property grants paid to Iowans.

Each day, more is awarded.

Deadlines are approaching

Nebraska was more heavily affected by the March storms, and residents in 27 of its counties are eligible for assistance, compared with nine counties in Iowa.

Deadlines for applying vary by state, and in some cases, by county.

In Nebraska, individuals seeking aid must apply by May 20. Residents are eligible if they live in Antelope, Boone, Boyd, Buffalo, Burt, Butler, Cass, Colfax, Cuming, Custer, Dodge, Douglas, Hall, Howard, Knox, Madison, Nance, Nemaha, Pierce, Platte, Richardson, Saline, Sarpy, Saunders, Stanton, Thurston or Washington Counties. Additionally, the Santee Sioux Nation is eligible.

In Iowa, the deadlines are staggered. The application process has closed for residents of Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona and Woodbury Counties, Iowa.

Residents of Pottawattamie and Shelby Counties, Iowa, have until May 17, Louisa County, until June 10, and Scott County, until June 12.

Additionally, residents may be eligible for other types of aid, including disaster unemployment payments.

Here’s how to learn more

If you live in one of the designated counties listed above, you can apply for aid:

For questions about low interest loans, visit sba.gov/disaster or call 800-659-2955.

Parts of DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge reopen

Portions of DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge have reopened after being closed because of flooding on the Missouri River.

The visitor center is open, as are some hiking trails.

All boat ramps and the Missouri River pullout are closed, and some roads are closed, including the southern entrance.

To reach the refuge, use the entrance on U.S. Highway 30.

The refuge is in Iowa, just across the Missouri River from Blair, Nebraska.

Because of flood damage, Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuge remains closed to the public. That refuge is in Nebraska, just east of Fort Calhoun.

Archdiocese parishes collect $470,000 for flood relief

The 138 parishes in the Archdiocese of Omaha collected $470,000 for flood relief during the weekend of March 23-24.

Last week, the archdiocese distributed about half of that, $230,000, to the Nebraska communities of Elkhorn, Bellevue, Hooper, Papillion, Springfield, Columbus and Schuyler.

The money will go toward restoring youth soccer fields, replacing lost or damaged property, and helping with temporary shelter.

“The generous response of so many is another example of how mercy is received and lived in the archdiocese,” Archbishop George J. Lucas said in a statement.

The archdiocese continues to receive flood relief requests and plans to distribute the remaining money in the coming weeks.

Ag equipment maker Haybuster will donate to relief effort

Between now and December, agricultural equipment producer Haybuster plans to donate $200 for every machine sold in Nebraska to the Disaster Relief Fund, sponsored by the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation.

“The state of Nebraska is very important to Haybuster and has been for many years,” vice president of sales Bob Strahm said in a statement. “We feel awful about what has happened to the farmers and ranchers there and wanted to do our part to help out.”

All funds raised by the Disaster Relief Fund will be distributed to Nebraska farmers, ranchers and rural communities affected by disasters.

Iowa’s Scott County now eligible for disaster aid

Scott County has become the eighth Iowa county in which residents are eligible for disaster aid. The other counties already eligible are Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Woodbury, Pottawattamie and Shelby.

Residents of Scott County will have until June 12 to apply for aid.

Renters, you can qualify for federal aid, too

Renters in counties that are eligible for individual disaster assistance can apply for federal aid.

Rental grants of up to 30 days are available in Nebraska to qualified residents, as are low-interest loans to help replace damaged property, including automobiles.

Other types of aid are available to renters, including help with medical and dental needs and replacement of appliances. For information, visit disasterassistance.gov or call 800-621-3362.