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Special Needs for Iowa Extension Flood and Tornado Response and Recovery

Stout, JaneAnn; Holz-Clause, Mary; Miller, Gerald
Iowa State University
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As a result of severe storms and tornados during late May and excessive rainfall and resulting wide spread flooding in June, 86 Iowa counties have been declared state disaster areas and 78 of those counties have been declared federal disaster areas. Iowa State University(ISU)Extension is placing staff expertise, time, and materials into response and recovery efforts. The purpose of this special needs project is to expand our response and recovery capacity to meet the educational needs of Iowa residents living in flood and storm affected homes and communities. During the response phase,staff successfully accessed severe weather and flooding materials available through EDEN (Extension Disaster Education Network)and existing ISU Extension resources. For example,the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center publication "Storm Recovery Guide" was edited and distributed electronically to county extension offices. ISU Extension developed a disaster recovery web site that is updated daily and linked to EDEN. This project will provide staff the opportunity to provide additional timely and relevant information and services to Iowans and share lessons learned with the EDEN community. The project will extend programming resources throughout the current recovery process. State, area, and county extension staff members will distribute materials, perform on-site consultations, and offer emergency recovery programming. The project will provide greater access to clients through established hotlines, farm financial planning assistance, and print materials made available from other land-grant universities through EDEN. As a result of this project, ISU Extension will be able to expand our response and recovery capacity. State, area, and county Extension specialists will make sites visits with clients and community groups to address a number of needs from clientele in the affected communities and on farms.

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NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: With 78 of Iowa's 99 counties declared federal disaster areas, clientele needs are almost overwhelming. Iowa State University Extension has mobilized staff expertise and resources for disaster response and recovery needs caused by tornados in May 2008 and severe flooding in June 2008. Additional resources are necessary to increase community capacity for disaster response and recovery in the coming months. The project will increase the capacity for disaster response and recovery by delivery of research-based information and education on food safety; household cleanup; stress management; wells and water quality; mold and air quality; corn and soybean conditions and crop disease; emergency crop insurance and risk management tools; livestock handling and animal welfare issues; agricultural and family housing structures; economic impacts for individuals, families, farmers, communities, business, and industry; and other topics. Two statewide hotlines will be expanded to offer crisis counseling and appropriate referrals. Farm financial planning assistance will be expanded. Print materials will be made available from other land-grant universities through EDEN. Teams of Extension specialists will expand direct delivery of research-based information and education to individuals, families, and communities. Information and material resulting from this project will be shared with the EDEN community.

APPROACH: A multi-disciplinary disaster response team has been established to coordinate Iowa State University (ISU) Extension's efforts to address the impacts of recent widespread flooding, tornados, and severe storms across Iowa. This team represents specialists in housing and flood cleanup, farm finances, water and wells, food safety, crop and livestock concerns, tree damage, crop insurance, stress, lawn and garden concerns, and others. Extension specialists and staff will deliver educational materials, provide individual consultation, and facilitate emergency response efforts. Moisture meters are excellent tools to help people with persistent moisture and mold problems in their homes due to the floods. Thirty (30) wood/building material moisture meters will be provided to county extension offices located in the disaster-designated counties. These will be used by county staff and field specialists to advise clients on structures. Through a contractual agreement, a housing structural engineer from North Dakota State University will provide education and expertise in helping clients deal with short-term and long-term issues related to mold. A total of 71 FINPACK analyses will be conducted by Farm Financial Associates on retainer. Associates will meet with the farm family initially for two hours to collect information from farm records. A second meeting lasting an average of two hours will be held to review the results, which provide an in-depth plan for the farm business so the operator and the lender can make decisions for the future. Additional resources will be used to provide greater access through established hotlines where stress counselors and consumer educators give immediate answers to questions and concerns, reducing stress and assisting with necessary problem solving, and making referral to community and state-level resources to address technical issues.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
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Education and Training
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Chemical Contaminants
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication