President Donald Trump offered additional aid and prayers to Iowa Tuesday just over a week after the swing state was battered by a derecho storm that left churches, homes and farms in shambles and three people dead.
“All Americans are united in grief and prayer for the precious life that was lost,” Trump said during a visit to the state where he held a roundtable discussion with Iowa officials on the recovery efforts.
“When you look at the severity of the damage and how widespread it is — and especially in Linn County that you’re in right now, it’s been a blessing that we haven’t had any more loss of life than we’ve had,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said, according to a transcript of the meeting released by the White House.
On Monday, a Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman confirmed with the Associated Press that Trump had approved the public assistance portion of the governor’s request totaling about $45 million covering 16 counties. That portion of the declaration provides debris removal and repair to government buildings and utilities.
An individual assistance request for 27 counties — that includes $82.7 million for homes destroyed or with major damage and $3.77 billion for agriculture damage to farm land, grain bins and buildings and $100 million for private utilities repair — was not approved.
During the meeting with the Iowa officials on Tuesday, however, Trump committed to providing the individual assistance.
Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart explained that it was needed as tens of thousands of homes were impacted by the storm, and many Iowans could not afford the unexpected expenses that came with the damage that their insurance would not cover, Christian Post reported.
“Almost every one of our almost 60,000 homes and businesses had some kind of damage. That’s how widespread it was. Most of the city didn’t have power for a week. I still don’t have power at my home, and there’s about maybe another 20-, or 30-, or 40,000 people that are still waiting for power to come back up in Cedar Rapids,” Hart said.