Iowa derecho: Many residents are still without power a week after powerful storm


Power restoration remains a high priority for many in the region who have had to throw out their groceries and endure the continuing summer heat after the storm.

Alliant Energy, one of the main providers in the area, said that at least 90% of those impacted will have their power restored by midnight Tuesday.
Meanwhile, make shift food pantries have popped up around the state to help those in need, with at least five opening in Cedar Rapids, according to the city’s storm update resources page
Cedar Rapids resident and mother of five Pamela Smith told CNN affiliate KCRG on Monday that she had to throw out $400 worth of groceries after days without power following the storm.

“We can’t afford it,” Smith told KCRG. “The financial aspect is the hardest part, making sure we have enough money for everything.”

Cedar Rapids was one of the hardest hit cities — with more than 800 buildings suffering partial collapse of the roof, walls, ceiling or floors, Cedar Rapids Fire Chief Greg Smith said Friday. More than 20 school buildings in the city sustained damage as well.
“It’s like a battlefield,” Veteran Tim Kipping, who served as a Marine in Desert Storm, told KCRG as he stood in front of a decimated apartment complex where the crew said they could smell the stench of rotting food. “Literally it looks like the building was hit with artillery shells.”
At least 50 people remained in shelters in the city Monday night with more space available, the city of Cedar Rapids said in a tweet. Around 50 people were taken to the hospital for treatment following the storm.

The governor has said power restoration is a “major priority.” President Donald Trump is expected to visit the state to survey the damage on Tuesday.

Midwesterners helping each other

Those whose homes are still livable are trying to clear trees and other debris as they deal with continued power outages.

“In the modern era with working from home, it means we can’t do anything at all because there’s no internet, no nothing,” Grinnell resident Adam Albright told CNN affiliate KCCI.

What has shone through following the storm is the Midwestern spirit, with neighbors helping neighbors and people jumping in to help clean up the damage.

“A lot of us will get out and make sure we’re cleaning but we’re really worried about the people in town who still do not have power,” Grinnell resident Sarah Smith told the affiliate. “We try to make sure we’re seeking those people out and get them the help they need.”

Over the weekend, Soldiers with the 831st Engineer Company worked to clear downed trees so that a substation supplying power to Cedar Rapids could be reached for repair, the Iowa National Guard tweeted.

Caution tape is wrapped around a low downed power line that stretches over a roadway, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, after a derecho in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Clean up crews from as far away as South Carolina have traveled to the state to help out, the governor said in a tweet Monday, thanking them.
Wisconsin residents Dave and Diane Lobermeier drove more than 300 miles to drop off supplies in Cedar Rapids, before taking a chainsaw to help cut up trees in the street, KCRG reported.

“It’s people helping people,” Dave Lobermeier told the affiliate. “It’s what Midwesterners do,” Diane Lobermeier added.

CNN’s Raja Razek contributed to this report.


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