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FEMA connects with tornado-impacted neighbors in Iowa: ‘You don't have to go through this process alone’

Posted at 7:17 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 20:17:55-04

CRESCENT, Iowa. (KMTV) — Tornado recovery continues in Iowa as FEMA makes its way through some Iowa counties impacted by last month’s storms going door to door to talk with neighbors.

  • Starting Wednesday, FEMA will be canvassing areas affected by storms.
  • Disaster Survivor Assistance teams will be in Pottawattamie and Shelby counties before moving to other counties designated for FEMA individual assistance.
  • Watch the video to hear from a homeowner juggling her small business and repairs to her home.

Iowa doesn't currently have a disaster center so, in the meantime, FEMA's Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are going through neighborhoods impacted by last month’s tornados.

"We will try to hit every county that we can that the emergency managers tell us that was most affected and try to register those residents," said Tiana Suber, FEMA spokesperson.

FEMA stopped by the home of Sherry Dolezal, she wasn't home, that's because she was working at her coffee shop, The Coffee Cabin, in Council Bluffs, it's where she was before she closed for the storms on April 26th too.

"I put on my Facebook page, I am going to close early at 2 o’clock because of the storms," Dolezal said.

She went home watched the tornado hit the airport and with her family quickly went to safety when the storm hit her home.

"Siding ripped off the house, windows broken, the blue metal that is actually very thick galvanized steel that is custom fabricated that has been there for forty years, just ripped and shredded off the house,” Dolezal said.

Now in the weeks since she is working on repairs, and many have offered to help.

"My husband built that home and it's got a lot of damage, and I am going to be honest the insurance company is not going to pay for it," Dolezal said.

While she says it has been devastating, he remains dedicated to her business, a building, and treat that runs deep in her family.

"I am going to sell coffee and I will pay for it myself and that's just how it is going to go, and I don't care if I have to work every day, 24 hours a day to pay for my home to get fixed, I will,” Dolezal said.

FEMA hopes to get neighbors like Sherry registered to reach further assistance.

"Register with us even if you think you might not need it, you know, it can't hurt at all, see what resources are available to you so you don't have to go through this process alone," Suber said.

As FEMA continues to go door to door it's important to know they will have their ID badges, they don't ask for money, and they don't take money and they will know your registration number.