Iowa Updates: August 2020 | Pesticide Action Network
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Iowa Updates: August 2020

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As Iowa is one of the states in which PAN does on-the-ground campaign work, we send out regular updates on PAN and partners' work in Iowa and beyond — from pesticide-related science to opportunities to take action. If you'd like to receive these updates via email, sign up here.

State updates

Derecho results in significant damage : On August 10, a massive derecho (duh rey choh) blew through Iowa with devastating results. Over a half-million sites were without power and approximately 10 million acres of agricultural production were flattened in just a few hours. More than one-third of the state sustained significant damage from this powerful storm. Over a week later, people are still struggling to clean up and power has yet to be restored to over 68,000 households and businesses.

We recognize that many who receive Iowa News were directly impacted, and everyone else has a connection to someone who was. PAN’s own Carmen Black sent a text stating, “It was a really scary storm. I’ve been in a lot of high winds before, but these lasted for a long time!” Carmen is correct. Iowans are not unfamiliar with difficult weather, but this derecho was truly exceptional, and recovery will take time.

Personal note from Rob Faux, Communications Associate in Iowa
Last Thursday was a long and exhausting day as we drove south to help family and friends after Monday’s derecho storm. I saw more crushed grain bins and destroyed out-buildings in one drive than I’ve seen during all my years living in Iowa. Once we crossed the storm border, every town we passed looked like it had experienced an EF1 or EF2 tornado that covered the entire community. Every once in a while we would drive by spots that didn’t look all that bad — until we realized that it only looked better if we compared it to the heavily damaged area we had just passed through.

I was humbled by the gratitude that was shown to us for doing simple things that, in our minds, were inadequate. We delivered bags of ice, a propane tank for a grill, and gasoline for a generator. We brought some prepared food, a few boxes of tissues, a flashlight, and bread. We lent a hand with clean-up for as long as we were able. And then we drove back to our farm so we could do our evening chores, sobered by what we had witnessed.

Recovery is still very much on our minds right now. It is difficult to think about much else when we realize our neighbors are struggling. If you are struggling, we hope you find the strength to ask for the help you need. If you were fortunate, as we were, then we hope you will find strength to provide that help.

We are providing links to some resources we believe may provide assistance to those in need. If you are looking to help, there are also resources that will guide your efforts.

Resources for disaster relief

Iowa Public Radio has published an article featuring ways you can seek help if you have lost work or need help with damage due to the storm.

The Iowa Department of Human Services has a Derecho Resources page that includes applications to apply for food loss relief and/or disaster assistance if you meet income guidelines.

This page on the USDA site includes resources for farmers and ranchers impacted by the derecho.

State Auditor Rob Sand recommends donating to the Iowa Community Action Agency for the region you wish to aid. Similarly, he has suggested that a local United Way organization may also be a safe and effective way to help.

If you are able and interested in providing direct help, KWWL provided this page giving direction for those willing to help, primarily in the Cedar Rapids area.

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