Link to Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management's Twitter feedLink to Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management's Facebook pageLink to Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management's BlogLink to the Ready Iowa website Podcasts pageLink to the HSEMD YouTube channel

Helping the victims of 2017 hurricanes


In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Marie, you may ask what is being done to help those affected by disaster in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands - or what you can do to help.



Members of New York Task Force 1 and Virginia Task Force 1 conduct search-and-rescue operations on St. Thomas and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Photo by FEMA, Sept. 12, 2017.The simple answer is, unless you or your organization are asked to respond, the best way to help is through a cash donation to a reputable relief organization. It is important to also stress not to send donations of goods (clothing, bedding, hygiene items, food, water, etc.). One thing those affected by the disaster don't need is the logistical nightmare that is created when a surge of unsolicited donations pour into their communities and overwhelm those tasked with recovery. This phenomenon is often referred to as the "second disaster." (Above: Members of New York Task Force 1 and Virginia Task Force 1 conduct search-and-rescue operations on St. Thomas and St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Photo by FEMA, Sept. 12, 2017.)



Many voluntary agencies are engaged in the response efforts. Those agencies have defined recruitment and training processes they must follow to ensure skilled personnel are assisting. While many trained personnel have deployed to disaster areas from Iowa, we encourage you to investigate volunteer opportunities here in Iowa, either through the Iowa Disaster Human Resource Council, or via the Volunteer Iowa website.


DO NOT "self-deploy" to affected areas. In catastrophic disasters, those areas hit hard by recent storms are still dealing with numerous life-saving issues. People "showing up to help" only adds to the chaos. Please let the established processes work. Response and recovery efforts will be ongoing for a very long time.


Government Assistance

Any requests for assistance with public health, law enforcement, National Guard, human services resources, etc., will come through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). EMAC is comprised of emergency management agencies all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C.


HSEMD's Joyce Flinn and Frank Klier work EMAC missions from FEMA's National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. The two are working on getting supplies and personnel to the U.S. Virgin Islands.


Through EMAC, officials in those areas hit by recent storms determine the resources needed and send out a broadcast which is received by the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD). HSEMD then forwards the request to the appropriate state agency partner to see if they can support the request. (Above: Sept. 19, 2017, HSEMD's Joyce Flinn and Frank Klier work to get supplies and personnel to the U.S. Virgin Islands through EMAC from FEMA's National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C.)


If local resource support is needed, the state agency would then reach out to local agencies and ask their availability to meet the need. The compact guarantees reimbursement and liability protections during deployment.



President Trump issues disaster declaration for seven Iowa counties


President Trump issues Disaster Declaration for seven Iowa counties impacted by July flooding and severe weather


AUGUST 27, 2017 - Today, Gov. Kim Reynolds received word that President Donald Trump approved her request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration for seven counties impacted by flooding and severe weather July 19-23, 2017.


The counties included in the declaration are: Allamakee, Bremer, Buchanan, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette and Mitchell.


Map of counties included in Disaster 4334
The declaration will provide federal funding to the included counties under the Public Assistance Program. A Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance puts into motion long-term federal recovery programs, some of which are partially matched by state programs, and designed to help public entities and select non-profits. Public Assistance funds may be used for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities and may include debris removal, emergency protective measures, repair of damaged public property, loans needed by communities for essential government functions and grants for public schools. Damage assessments in the seven declared counties showed an estimated $7 million worth of damage that could be eligible under the Public Assistance Program.


The governor also received notification that the Presidential Disaster Declaration includes funding to conduct hazard mitigation activities for the entire state. With this funding, Iowa will be able to minimize the impact of future disasters by taking steps to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural hazards.‚ÄčClick here to read the Notice of Funds Availability (PDF).


The governor requested the declaration on Aug. 10, 2017. Click here to read the letter in its entirety.



Iowa Watershed Approach launches new website


Iowa Watershed Approach launches program website


JUNE 30, 2017 - The Iowa Watershed Approach officially launched its program website today at


Iowa Watershed Approach logoThe website will serve as a landing page for the entire Iowa Watershed Approach (IWA) project, with basic information about the IWA, important documents, and links to all program partners and key stakeholders.


The IWA was created in 2016 when the State was awarded a $96.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as part of the National Disaster Resilience Competition. The grant allows program partners to assist Iowa communities in their recovery from prior disasters as well as their ability to recover more quickly from future disasters.


Nine distinct watersheds across Iowa serve as project sites for the IWA: Bee Branch Creek in Dubuque, Upper Iowa River, Upper Wapsipinicon River, Middle Cedar River, Clear Creek, English River, North Raccoon River, West Nishnabotna River, and East Nishnabotna River.


The site, managed by the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, will highlight progress made toward the six goals identified in the award. They include reducing flood risk, improving water quality, increasing resilience, engaging stakeholders, improving quality of life and health, and developing a program that can be replicated throughout the Midwest and the nation.


The IWA Program is a collaboration of numerous agencies, universities, non-profits, and municipalities. Partners include: Iowa Economic Development Authority, Iowa Homeland Security & Emergency Management, University of Iowa/Iowa Flood Center, Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Conservation Service, County Soil & Water Conservation Districts, The Nature Conservancy, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Agricultural Water Alliance, local Resource Conservation & Development offices, local Council of Governments offices, Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa Association of Counties, Silver Jackets Flood Risk Management Team, and many more.



Text-to-911 logo: Call if you can, text if you can't








Application period opens for FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant programs


JULY 12, 2017 - FEMA has announced the Unified Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant program for FY 2017, which includes the Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) and Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) programs. These HMA grant programs will provide funds to states, territories, Indian tribal governments, and communities for hazard mitigation planning and mitigation projects prior to a disaster event. Funding amounts are based on Congressional appropriation. Click here to read more about these funding opportunities.