🧵 I spent a couple days last week in Benton County, just west of Linn County, where people are still reeling from the #derecho.

If you thought Cedar Rapids was livid about lack of media coverage, let me tell you...I’m sorry I wasn’t there sooner.

#Iowahurricane Image
Driving thru Benton County, in some areas it seemed nearly every farm was significantly damaged, horizon dotted by blue tarps, shattered trees, crumpled grain bins, flattened corn. And that’s after a solid two weeks of Herculean cleanup efforts.

#derecho2020 #iowahurricane Image
As Steve Meyer, head off Benton County Emergency Management Commission told me, the devastation is “numbing”.

At least with a tornado you drive in & out of the damage area, he says. With the #IowaDerecho ‘it just never ends’.

#iowahurricane Image
Beyond damage to homes, Steve Meyer of Benton Co Em Mgmt Comm said what gets him are broken tombstones, century-old windmills & ‘landmark barns’, all ‘gone’.

Says recovery from #IowaDerecho ‘will never be complete’.

Before & after of welcome to Belle Plaine grain bin mural 👇🏻 ImageImage
I would be driving & just let out an involuntary groan over & over bc seeing more devastation was like a gut punch.

Ppl told me about grain bins flying half a mile thru the air, then barreling thru someone’s property.

Catholic Church in Norway 👇🏻

#IowaDerecho #iowahurricane Image
There’s scraps of metal scattered throughout many fields still, some more like giant sheets of metal, twisted and crumpled.

Going to be painstaking to get all that out so it doesn’t get caught up in machinery.

#IowaDerecho #iowahurricane Image
I met Terry & Judi Hertle. They live(d) in the house T was born in, that he’s lived in his whole life.

Was built in 1919 by his grandparents who came over on the Red Star Line from Germany.

The house now has no roof. Black mold is taking over the basement #IowaDerecho ImageImage
Terry & Judi have dug a big pit out back where they’re burning their ruined belongings, some of which are still scattered in the fields.

Decades-old birthday cards, their son’s old stroller, in a pit to be burned.

They’re not the only ones.

#IowaDerecho #iowahurricane ImageImageImageImage
The Hertles say they’re well-insured, this won’t bankrupt them, they’ll figure it out (they’re in their mid 70s).

Not necessarily the case for many.

At the Timber Ridge trailer park outside of Shellsburg, tents were still set up where families slept after the #IowaDerecho Image
Some of the trailers at Timber Ridge were entirely knocked off their foundations while people were inside. Just imagine that terror.

Many were able to relocate to hotels in Cedar Falls w help from Red Cross. But longterm....? #IowaDerecho #iowahurricane Image
Timber Ridge mgr told me it’s been a struggle just to get a dumpster to put all the storm debris in.

Materials are in such short supply due to the scale of damage across the region, they’re looking to source in IL & WI. Expect delays in rebuilding #IowaDerecho #iowahurricane Image
Again, as of now, the residents of Timber Ridge outside Shellsburg, all of Benton Co, and all other affected counties except Linn, cannot get individual assistance from FEMA.

That $ can help w home repairs, rent assistance, relocation, medical bills #IowaDerecho #iowahurricane Image
As Belle Plaine City Administrator Stephen Beck told me, FEMA individual assistance for rural poor ‘would change their lives’.

Farm damage is incredible, but he says farmers ‘will be taken care of’. But ‘nobody is taking care of rural poor’.

#IowaDerecho #iowahurricane Image
More from rural Benton County:

Belle Plaine City Administrator Stephen Beck told me he’s beyond frustrated w what he sees as a lack of coordinated disaster response from st & federal govt.

Said they ‘flew over Benton County like it doesn’t exist’.

#IowaDerecho #iowahurricane PC: Stephen Beck, Belle Pla...
Belle Plaine City Administrator Stephen Beck said he’s incredibly worried about mental health, not just in BP, but in the smaller towns around that BP is a hub for.

More than the #IowaDerecho, more than #COVID19, he says the crisis there is mental health.

#iowahurricane PC: Stephen Beck, Belle Pla...
Pastor Kate West of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Belle Plaine was one of the many local volunteers who stepped up after the #IowaDerecho.

She became de facto emergency food aid coordinator, something she said she’d never done before. #IowaHurricane PC: Stephen Beck, Belle Pla...
Not sure why it's not showing up in the alt description of these past Belle Plaine photos, but they're courtesy of Belle Plaine City Administrator Stephen Beck. Thank you!
Pastor Kate West (on the r) ran food kitchen out of the Belle Plaine community ctr, says they fed up to 800 a day.

Residents could also charge phones & medical devices there. Said # of ppl who came to charge oxygen equipment bc nowhere else to go was unconscionable #IowaDerecho pc: Pastor Kate West, First...
Pastor Kate West on rural poverty and the #IowaDerecho:

“I really feel like we are being told, pull yourself up from the bootstraps.

Well, if you no longer have straps on your boots, how are we supposed to pull them up?

And that’s if you’re lucky enough to have a boot.” Courtesy: Stephen Beck, Bel...
Pastor Kate West says she’s also very concerned about mental health after the #IowaDerecho. Says it’s physically so much harder to access & culturally taboo.

Worried about ppl who seem fine, take care of spouses & kids and then ‘walk out into a field one day and never come back’ Courtesy: Stephen Beck, Bel...
I'm listening back to the tape and misremembered something: the stroller in the burn pit is Terry's, not their son Kevin's.

Terry had kept it for 75 years.
Update: last night the announcement came down that @fema has approved individual assistance for 10 additional counties in Iowa, including Benton County.

More on this from me 👇🏻

#IowaDerecho #IowaHurricane #iapolitics

iowapublicradio.org/ipr-news/2020-…
@fema My latest: some of the #derecho stories in rural Iowa are astonishing: a grain bin flying half a mile thru the air, tree limbs the size of person flying 60 ft up.

And the people left behind in the rubble.

Listen here for the fate of one century farm 👇🏻

iowapublicradio.org/ipr-news/2020-…

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More from @hellokatepayne

Aug 15, 2020
People are hard at work repairing this apartment complex this morning after the #derecho.

I think this neighborhood is technically over the line in Marion city limits, but on the NE side of Cedar Rapids.

#IowaStorms ImageImageImage
Lots of work to be done in Cedar Rapids and Marion. This is Amar Drive SE. #IowaDerecho #IowaStorms
I can’t get over what the #derecho2020 did to some of these trees.
Along Amar Drive SE.

#IowaStorms #Iowahurricane ImageImageImageImage
Read 28 tweets
Aug 13, 2020
The North Dodge Hy-Vee in Iowa City is back in action, but still no power or fuel at the gas station next door. #iowa #derecho
The perishable food at the 1st Ave Hy-Vee in Cedar Rapids is pretty well picked over this morning, but they’re restocking. #IowaStorms #derecho
As of this morning, phone lines “at all Linn County facilities remain down” per a county release.

You cannot reach Linn County Emegency Mangement by phone. #IowaStorms #derecho
Read 19 tweets
May 27, 2020
Stunning moment in today’s presser when @KimReynoldsIA and a top IDPH official said they’ll acknowledge outbreaks at meat packing plants in #Iowa when reporters ask about them, and won’t voluntarily post the info on a public website.
Two new outbreaks in Western Iowa were confirmed yesterday only because @okayhenderson asked about it.

Today, in asking for confirmation of another potential outbreak in Buena Vista County, Henderson noted that the state had known about the other two outbreaks since May 11th.
@KimReynoldsIA says the state is working to be as “transparent” as possible in posting data & notes the @COVID19Tracking gave Iowa an A+ rating for its website.

Still some packing plant workers & advocates say companies are not adequately saying who’s positive & what’s the risk.
Read 4 tweets

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