Obama signs disaster declaration for Iowa counties

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for five Iowa counties damaged by severe weather in early April.

The announcement Monday means the counties of Dickinson, Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola and Sioux will get federal funding under a public assistance program. Funding can be used for emergency repairs, essential government functions and grants for public schools.

The severe weather between April 9 and 11 included strong winds, heavy rain, thunderstorms, freezing rain, ice and snow. It damaged utility lines, poles, trees and vegetation.

The declaration puts into motion long-term federal recovery programs. Some are matched by state programs and designed to help public entities and certain non-profits. Gov. Terry Branstad requested the declaration on April 26.

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