Storm damage in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Photo Credit: Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office

What type of damage would it take to get the national media to cover the massive storm that destroyed eastern Iowa last week? Maybe if derecho had knocked over a statue, or made its way further east to the Hampton’s, perhaps then it would catch the eyes of a few national reporters.

While it was just a blip on the national radar, the “land hurricane” that hit Iowa last Monday has upended Iowans homes and their livelihoods. The derecho storm raged through our communities around lunchtime on Monday. I was huddled in the basement with my kids as the power went out and we watched water leak through our downstairs door. Trees barricaded the streets and there was no cell service.

These 100mph winds ripped roofs right off of homes. Trees were uprooted from the ground and landed on top of homes and cars, and powerlines were snapped in half. The derecho hit more than two-dozen counties in Iowa. Contacting friends and family was nearly impossible. The fear that Iowans experienced Monday morning is hard to put into words and the pictures you see online do not do the damage justice.

Our Governor, Kim Reynolds, was on the ground surveying the damage the next day alongside local journalists who have done a fantastic job telling the stories of Iowans who have been affected by the storm. The Department of Homeland Security has been working to help as many people as quickly as possible. This afternoon, the Governor announced that she has requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for the areas impacted by the storm. It’s clear, more than ever, we need help and we need it now.

We need help in the heartland. More than 1,000 homes have been declared unsafe to live in, and here we are, six days after the storm, and there are still 98,000 homes without electricity.

The derecho storm is effecting our schools who are already facing increased challenges preparing for our kids to go back to school due to the coronavirus pandemic. Our teachers and students are faced with yet another challenge that I know they will overcome.

The national media has overlooked this disaster. There was a recent Bloomberg story that highlighted a four-hour power outage in California, while Iowans are left wondering if anyone will pay attention as we approach a full week without power.

Iowans won’t just be sitting in their powerless houses waiting for Hollywood to put together a telethon. Iowans are strong. Iowans are resilient. We are certainly being tested in 2020.

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