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Iowa ‘hurting’ after storm, seeks nearly $4B in disaster aid

August 17, 2020 GMT
Work continues on tree and debris removal, some fallen on houses and other structures, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. The derecho that caused massive damage in Iowa this past week could offer lessons for forecasters and the public. The unusual storm packed the power of a category 3 hurricane but lacked the days of warning a typical hurricane offers. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette via AP)
Work continues on tree and debris removal, some fallen on houses and other structures, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. The derecho that caused massive damage in Iowa this past week could offer lessons for forecasters and the public. The unusual storm packed the power of a category 3 hurricane but lacked the days of warning a typical hurricane offers. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette via AP)

Iowa homes, cornfields, utility companies and government agencies have losses estimated at nearly $4 billion from Monday’s unusual storm, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Sunday as she announced she’s filing an expedited presidential major disaster declaration with the federal government seeking that much money to rebuild and repair.

The derecho with hurricane-force wind gusts exceeding 100 miles per hour destroyed or extensively damaged 8,200 homes and 13 million acres of corn, about a third of the state’s crop land, she said.

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More than a half million people were without electricity in the immediate aftermath of the storm. As of Sunday evening utility companies reported about 83,000 people remained without power.

Alliant Energy reported about 2,500 utility poles were damaged beyond repair and ITC Midwest, which owns power lines, reported about 1,200 miles of lines torn down by the winds. About 500 miles had been repaired by Sunday.

The storm left at least three people dead in the state.

The money Iowa is seeking from the federal government includes $3.78 billion in agriculture losses, $100 million for private utilities, $82 million for homes and $45 million for public assistance.

“From cities to farms, Iowans are hurting, many still have challenges with shelter, food, and power,” Reynolds said.