WASHINGTON D.C.- U.S.Senators today (Wednesday) heard about on-going flood recovery efforts in western Iowa. The Missouri River flood caused more than $1 billion dollars in damages to homes, but also businesses on the Iowa side of the river.
Senators heard from Lisa Shimkat, the director of the Iowa Small Business Development Center. She testified before the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, chaied by U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). The panel was reviewing the Small Business Administration's response to the disaster.
Shimkat told the panel:
Several communities have been devastated. Hamburg, Iowa is a community, with a population of just over 1,000 residents. They were still underwater when we toured. We saw homes that were gutted, belongings sitting on the front lawns while the home itself looked like an empty shell. What once held a family, now held emptiness. I have never felt so much hopelessness. Tanya Garfield, the Director of the SBA Disaster Field Operations Center-West, immediately got on her phone and had her team set up a Business Recovery Center in Hamburg. Businesses lost more than just inventory. The cleanup efforts seem insurmountable. One small business owner, Alicia, owner of Finders Keepers Antique Mall & Coffee Shoppe reached out to her SBDC counselor after mud and debris filled her building. Our Regional Director, Sue, went over to Alicia’s place the next day, which was a Saturday, and spent 12 hours helping Alicia scoop mud out of the building. The flood waters came back again in June and Alicia is back under water, she is frustrated that so many of the programs are not designed for those smaller businesses like hers and they aren’t designed for victims of flooding.
Shimkat's complete testimony click HERE.