It’s been nearly two weeks since an inland hurricane struck, but many residents of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the surrounding area are still struggling to put their lives back together. The recovery is going to take time and money, which is why the federal government needs to swiftly deliver full relief, not just some of the requested disaster aid.
The massive swath of destruction is stunning. “More than 1,000 homes in Cedar Rapids were destroyed by the storm, with another 4,000 severely damaged,” according to Star Tribune reporter John Reinan, who filed a report from the hard-hit Eastern Iowa city this week. Cedar Rapids is about five hours southeast of the Twin Cities.
The region’s rolling fields look like an army of steamrollers drove over them. About 10 million acres of crops sustained damage, Reinan reported. The rare intense storm, called a derecho, did not cause damage in Minnesota, according to the National Weather Service.
Federal disaster relief efforts to help Iowa are underway. An order signed recently by President Donald Trump did not provide “full” relief, as he had promised, but it did greenlight $45 million that will be used to repair public infrastructure.
On Thursday evening, he approved additional aid for residents of the county where Cedar Rapids is located. But other affected counties are still waiting. Iowa also has an estimated $2.7 billion in agricultural damage.
Affected Iowans also deserve a helping hand from their neighbors to the north. Many Minnesotans have family ties to the Hawkeye State. Donations to nonprofits providing direct relief will help loved ones and their communities.
Lyz Lenz, a columnist for the Cedar Rapids Gazette, has compiled a list of reputable organizations already on the scene. These include well-known organizations such as the Salvation Army and the United Way, as well as Feed Iowa First, Mercy Chefs, Eastern Iowa Diaper Bank and Horizons, which coordinates the Meals on the Wheels program in the Cedar Rapids area. Lenz’s list is available online at tinyurl.com/y5dkc4dd. Volunteers are needed as well for cleanup, serving meals and child care and other tasks. To sign up, go to UWECI.org/volunteernow or call 224-406-1366.