SIOUXLAND---Federal officials have expanded a disaster declaration for six Iowa counties hammered by Missouri River flooding.
Gov. Terry Branstad announced the new declaration Monday by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, saying it would enable local officials to begin permanent repairs to damaged infrastructure, such as roads and bridges.
Earlier declarations were focused on initial cleanup. The declaration covers Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona,Pottawattamie and Woodbury counties.
FEMA officials approved the declaration after studying damage reports submitted by the state.
That agency earlier rejected the state's request for individual assistance programs in the six counties, designed to help those who saw damage to homes or businesses.
Branstad says state officials will continue to press for that aid. FEMA spokesman Bob Josephson says his agency will consider whatever applications the state submits.