Tag Archives: Disaster

President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and ordered Federal aid to supplement the Tribe’s efforts in the areas affected by severe storms and flooding from March 13 to April 1, 2019.

Federal funding is available to the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms and flooding.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska.

Pete Gaynor, Acting Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Constance C. Johnson-Cage as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the Tribe and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) successfully amended the disaster supplemental bill to increase funding for crucial programs vital to Iowa recovery efforts. The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved two Axne amendments that increase funding for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program by $300 million and the Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief Program by $500 million. Congresswoman Axne debated her amendments on the House floor today as Rep. Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) presided. To watch a clip of that historic moment, click here.

Following the adoption of the Axne amendments, the House passed the robust emergency disaster supplemental bill to help disaster-stricken communities across the country. It builds on legislation that passed the House in January – with an additional $3 billion for Midwest flooding, thanks to the leadership of Rep. Axne. The legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration.

“I’ve been down to flood zones multiple times to speak with farmers, homeowners, and businessowners who have lost everything. Their resilience is inspiring but the damage is heartbreaking,” said Rep. Axne“From my firsthand experience in these flooded areas, I can attest to the serious damage and hazards that these communities face. This federal aid is vital to rebuilding Iowa communities. My amendments will increase funding for programs that will help with debris removal, fix our damaged roads and repair breached levees. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to immediately pass this bill.”


Congresswoman Axne has worked tirelessly to ensure that Iowans receive the federal assistance they need following this devastating flood. In addition to fighting for Iowans in Washington, Rep. Axne even rolled up her sleeves and helped a family in Pacific Junction muck out their home. More information on Axne’s efforts to fight for Iowa is available here.

Axne Amendment #1

This amendment increases funding for the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program by $300 million. The EWP program helps communities to quickly address serious and long-lasting damages to infrastructure and land caused by natural disasters. The EWP program funding will help Iowans remove debris from streams, roads, and bridges and help repair the more than 40 levees that were damaged during the flooding.

EWP program funding can be used to:

  • Remove debris from stream channels, road culverts and bridges;
  • Reshape and protect eroded streambanks;
  • Correct damaged or destroyed drainage facilities;
  • Establish vegetative cover on critically eroding lands;
  • Repair levees and structures;
  • Restore conservation practices.

Axne Amendment #2

This amendment increases funding for the Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief Program (FHP) by $500 million. The Federal Highway Administration – Emergency Relief Program will help Iowa address our immediate highway repair needs, restore traffic, and help restore our facilities. Following the devastating flood, key federal aid routes in Southwest Iowa were damaged, including I-29, I-680 and US-34. An initial estimate of damage from this storm tops $90 million, with the damage on I-29 alone estimated at $40 million.

Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief funds are used to:

  • Address immediate needs;
  • Restore traffic;
  • Limit damage to remaining facilities;
  • Restore damaged facilities to pre-disaster conditions.

LINCOLN, NEB. – “We looked around and didn’t know where to start. The devastation was so overwhelming, but the check we received from the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund helped us take the first step and know that we are not alone. We are so grateful,” said Tom and Fran Geisler, who farm and raise cattle near Hooper.

“The kindness and generosity of people across Nebraska and the United States is humbling,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “More than $2 million has been collected for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund, with 100 percent of funds raised going to farmers, ranchers, and rural communities in need of assistance,” said Nelson.

According to the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), 104 cities, 81 counties, and five tribal areas have had emergency declarations. The cost of the damage by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture is estimated at $440 million in crop losses; and $400 million in cattle losses. Other estimates include $449 million in damages to roads, levees, and other infrastructure across the state.

“For us to continue to rebuild our farms, ranches, and rural communities, it will take patience and perseverance to get through the magnitude of the loss and destruction,” said Nelson. “While the response to this fund has been overwhelming, we have seen requests for aid come into the Disaster Relief Fund totaling more than what we currently have in the fund. The amount we have raised doesn’t meet the assistance already requested, and additional applications are received each day.”

The fund was established at the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit, so donations meet the criteria for qualified charitable contributions for tax purposes.

“When we first started the fund, the immediate need in rural areas was water, food, shelter, and medicine for people and animals,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation.

“As health and safety situations stabilize, other needs have emerged, including clearing flood debris from pastures, fields, and homes; rebuilding fences to protect livestock; paying for extra fuel to deliver hay to stranded cattle; and helping restore fresh water to residents and animals in places like Boyd County,” said Schafer.

At Chance Ridge near Elkhorn, funds from the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund have been used to buy fuel, food, and lodging for those volunteering to help with clean up. “We serve as a delivery hub for hay and other supplies,” said Autumn Rock of Chance Ridge Event Center. “Because of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund, we were able to help more than 150 farmers from across the state and keep more than 10-thousand head of cattle alive. This fund is truly making a difference.”

The need for assistance, both short term and long term, continues to grow. Each day there are different requests, and the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund stands ready to help farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.

“The repairs and recovery from this disaster will take a huge amount of resources. The next step is to provide support for intermediate and long-term recovery efforts in areas where there are gaps in availability of insurance coverage and government assistance,” said Nelson.

“We continue to seek financial donations to meet the growing aid requests coming into the Disaster Relief Fund,” said Schafer. “Every dollar counts. When we all give, we come together as one community, making Nebraska stronger.”

To donate, apply for aid, or access other disaster assistance resources, visit www.nefb.org/disaster.