The 14-hour derecho has left half a million Iowans without power and the state's $10 billion crop industry in tatters.
Over two weeks since a derecho (otherwise known as a land hurricane) hit Iowa, the state has been struggling to rebuild. The 14-hour storm has left Iowa in pieces: 43 percent of the state's crops have been affected and more than one million people in the Midwest have been left without power. Though United States President Donald Trump signed an emergency declaration last week to send Iowans $45 million in assistance, it is barely a fraction of the roughly $4 billion requested by Republican Governor Kim Reynolds. To worsen the issue, national media has largely ignored the plight of Iowans, refusing to cover the natural disaster in-depth, CNN reports.
Here are just a couple of photos of some of the catastrophic damage from last week’s derecho in Iowa. We have @BGEA chaplains there ministering and @SamaritansPurse disaster relief is helping storm victims. pic.twitter.com/y13L99ckis— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) August 21, 2020
The devastation in the state is palpable. Danielle Hecker, who usually spends her Wednesday evenings with her bike club that rides the streets of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, now uses her time to help neighbors and even strangers remove destroyed trees from their residences and neighborhoods. "We've just been cutting people's trees down in their yard because the insurance isn't going to cover that and we've been taking care of that and we've been going through like a swarm of locusts taking all these trees down," she explained. "We try to get lunch coordinated, but we're exhausted by 5 pm. We can't do it for 13 hours a day and then we're just tired and then we go home to a house without power, without air-conditioning. Without hot water. I didn't have a shower for seven days. You're getting sun burn."
Hecker's story is but one example of how Iowans are struggling to cope following the deadly natural disaster. As most news outlets continue to ignore the state's pleas for help, one TikTok user has stepped in to do her part and raise awareness about the issue. When 20-year-old Bailey Harmston realized that few national news organizations were covering the derecho storm, she turned to the video sharing platform. In one video, she states, "I'm getting ready to take a shower at noon on a Friday with a lantern in the dark because I don't have power and neither does about half a million Iowans." She then goes on to highlight why people should care about what is happening in the state right now.
Harmston points out in a follow-up video that Iowa is number one in the production of corn, pigs, eggs, and soybean. Using a picture taken of the state's land from space, she alerts, "This picture was taken a couple days ago from space. The light green shading you see there is flattened fields. You can see it from space, and there is still no national news coverage." What the 20-year-old claims is true. The derecho has severely damaged the state's $10 billion industry of crop production, which is central to Iowa's economy. This blow is bound to have overarching effects on the nation as a whole, which relies on the state's production capabilities. If you would like to lend a helping hand to Iowans right now, you can make a donation to a disaster fund set up by The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, which helps connect donors with local organizations working on relief efforts.