Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has announced that he is extending the State of Disaster Emergency in response to the avian flu outbreak through July 31, 2015. This is the second extension the governor has made to the original disaster proclamation. The governor’s original disaster declaration was set to expire Sunday, May 31, 2015, but he extended it until July 1, 2015, on May 29, 2015. The latest disaster proclamation can be read here.
The extension comes less than two weeks after Branstad requested a Presidential Disaster Designation for four Iowa counties hit by the virus. In bipartisan fashion, members of Iowa’s Congressional Delegation wrote a letter to President Obama encouraging him to grant the governor’s request on June 19, 2015.
The proclamation of disaster emergency does the following:
- Activates the disaster response and recovery aspect of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department’s (HSEMD) Iowa Emergency Response Plan.
- Authorizes the use and deployment of all available state resources, supplies, equipment, and materials as are deemed reasonably necessary by the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and Iowa HSEMD in order to do the following:
- Track and monitor instances of confirmed highly pathogenic avian influenza throughout the state of Iowa and the country,
- Establish importation restrictions and prohibitions in respect to animals suspected of suffering from this disease,
- Rapidly detect any presumptive or confirmed cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza within Iowa’s borders,
- Contain the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within our state through depopulation, disinfections, and disposal of livestock carcasses,
- Engage in detection activities, contact tracking, and other investigatory work to stop the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within our state, and
- Eliminate the disease in those disaster counties where it has been found and lessen the risk of this disease spreading to our state as a whole.
- Temporarily authorizes the Iowa HSEMD, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), the Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), other state agencies, and local law enforcement agencies and private contractors employed by the same to remove and/or dispose of live animals and animal carcasses on publicly or privately owned land when those live animals and/or carcasses threaten public health or safety.
- Authorizes the Iowa HSEMD, the Iowa DOT, the Iowa DPS, the Iowa DNR, IDPH, other state agencies, and local law enforcement agencies to implement stop movement and stop loading restrictions and other control zone measures as are reasonably deemed necessary, including establishing buffer zones, checkpoints, and cleaning and disinfecting operations at checkpoints and borders surrounding any quarantine areas established by the IDALS or at any other location in the state of Iowa, in order to stop the spread of this contagious disease.
- Authorizes state agencies to assist the IDALS in disinfection, depopulation, and livestock carcass disposal efforts.
- Temporarily waives restrictions to allow for the timely and efficient disposal of poultry carcasses.
- Temporarily suspends the regulatory provisions pertaining to hours of service for commercial vehicle drivers hauling poultry carcasses infected with or exposed to highly pathogenic avian influenza or while hauling loads otherwise related to the response to this disaster during its duration, subject to certain conditions outlined in the disaster proclamation.