Foreign aid for an Iowa town?

Emerson, Iowa, was hit by a flood in June that caused $5 million in damage. The town (pop. 502) has had a tough time rebuilding. Few people had flood insurance. The good news: No one was killed. The bad news: Because no one was killed, the town doesn't qualify for federal disaster aid, or so says the mayor. Actually, a federal official says death is no criteria for aid. Besides, he says the governor apparently decided the state could handle reconstruction. And the Small Business Administration provided loans to stricken businesses. Still, the mayor is asking 23 countries for help.

So far, he's been turned down by the Netherlands. Norway and Austria told him they would refer the request to the (ahem) proper officials.

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