AP NEWS

The Latest: President Trump grants Iowa disaster declaration

March 23, 2019
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An angel statuary graces a yard near Hansen Lake Friday, March 22, 2019, in Bellevue, Neb. Residents were allowed into the area for the first time since floodwaters overtook several homes. Flooding in Nebraska has caused an estimated $1.4 billion in damage. The state received Trump's federal disaster assistance approval on Thursday. (Kent Sievers/Omaha World-Herald via AP)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Latest on the flooding in the Midwest (all times local):

4:55 p.m.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says President Donald Trump has granted her request for an expedited disaster declaration for 56 counties with damage from recent flooding along the Missouri River and other parts of the state.

The declaration makes assistance available to homeowners, renters, businesses, public entities and some nonprofit organizations.

Reynolds said in a statement Saturday that the federal help with be instrumental in the state’s recovery. She says “the road to recovery will be long, but it’s clear that Iowans will have the resources we need to rebuild.”

She has estimated damage from flooding that began March 13 at $1.6 billion to homes, businesses, agriculture and levees.

The presidential declaration makes available individual and public assistance program funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and money for hazard mitigation.

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3 p.m.

South Dakota’s governor has activated 13 members of the Army Ntional Guard to help distribute water on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation after floodwaters washed out a county waterline.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem says the guardsmen are scheduled to start work Saturday on providing drinkable water to people in the communities of Red Shirt, Pine Ridge, Porcupine, Evergreen and Wounded Knee.

The guardsmen are bringing five water tank vehicles with the capability to receive, store and distribute up to 2,000 gallons of potable water per system. The Guard will set up from a central location in each community until the waterline is fixed.

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2:20 p.m.

As the Missouri River nears its crest in Kansas City, Missouri, the utility that provides drinking water is urging caution.

KC Water says the flood has caused it to fail to meet standards for the treatment of the parasite cryptosporidium.

Floodwaters reached record and near-record levels in parts of Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri north of Kansas City. Though flood levels aren’t as bad in the Kansas City area, the water is still high enough to impact water treatment.

KC Water says the concern is not enough to issue a boil order. But the utility says those with extreme health conditions should be aware.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resource was notified and KC Water says the state agency does not consider the water quality an emergency.

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1:30 p.m.

Now that floodwaters are starting to subside in several Midwestern towns, experts are urging people returning to their flood-damaged homes to be careful.

The flood is blamed for three deaths, and two Nebraska men are still missing. Flooding has also forced hundreds of people from their homes in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri.

Contaminants that escaped from flooded farm fields, industrial operations and sewage plants are part of the murky water now saturating homes.

The water itself isn’t the only concern. Experts warn that sharp objects — broken glass, pieces of metal, pointy sticks and rocks — could lurk in muddy debris. Downed or broken power lines also may pose electrocution hazards.

Another risk is posed by river wildlife, including snakes.

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11:50 a.m.

Flooding concerns are starting to ease in hard-hit places in the Midwest, but experts warn that with plenty of snow still left to melt in northern states, the threat could persist for months.

Rainfall and some snowmelt spurred flooding blamed in three deaths so far, with two men in Nebraska missing for more than a week. Thousands were forced from their homes in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. The damage is estimated at $3 billion. That figure is expected to rise.

As temperatures start to warm, snowmelt in the Dakotas and Minnesota will escalate, sending more water down the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and their tributaries.

Lt. Col. James Startzell of the Army Corps of Engineers is urging those who live near rivers to keep a wary eye.