President Trump to tour derecho damage in Iowa Tuesday


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (NewsNation/WHO-TV) — President Donald Trump will visit Iowa on Tuesday to survey the destruction from last week’s powerful derecho. Trump will participate in a recovery briefing in Cedar Rapids, according to the official White House schedule

On Monday, Trump approved a Major Disaster Declaration for Iowa that will provide federal funding to aid in the state’s recovery efforts. This came less than a day after Gov. Kim Reynolds requested $3.99 billion in federal aid.

The derecho battered Iowa with hurricane-force winds exceeding more than 100 mph at times. The storm flattened cornfields, destroyed agricultural infrastructure and left at least three people dead in the state. More than half a million people were left without power after the storm hit. A week later, more than 65,000 remain without electricity, NewsNation affiliate WHO reports.

Reynolds requested $3.77 billion for agricultural losses, $100 million for private utilities, $82 million for damaged homes and $45 million for public assistance.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during a news conference, Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The storm that struck Monday morning left tens of thousands of residents without power as of Friday morning. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Most of the federal aid will be used to recover agricultural losses. In the 36 counties hit hardest by the storm, 3.57 million acres of corn and 2.5 million acres of soybeans were impacted. Reynolds said last week that the agricultural damage is unprecedented in Iowa. 

“I had a farmer reach out to me to say this was the worst wind damage to crops and farm buildings that he has ever seen across the state in such a wide area,” Reynolds said.

Trump will visit Cedar Rapids which was hit especially hard. It is where an apartment complex home to about 75 refugee families was deemed uninhabitable due to storm damage. Families were living outside in tents for several days before local officials stepped in to assess the damage and provide support. 

“This past week I had conversations with President Trump and Vice President Pence, both have pledged the full support of the federal government. I am very grateful for their continued partnership and commitment during this disaster,” said Reynolds. 

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