Skip to main content

World Renew Responds to Catastrophic Storm

September 2, 2020
Cleaning up after the storm continues across Iowa.

Cleaning up after the storm continues across Iowa.

World Renew

On August 10, 2020, a straight-line storm, called a “derecho,” raked across 770 miles of the central U.S. with Category 4 hurricane-force winds. World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS) is responding to the catastrophic storm, coordinating with Christian Reformed and other churches and organizations in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area.

The powerful storm packed 70 mile-per-hour (mph) sustained winds and spawned 17 tornadoes across nine states. Eastern Iowa was particularly hard hit, with estimated gusts of 130 mph that affected 27 counties. In all, the derecho caused the deaths of four people, damaged 8,000 homes, destroyed 14 million acres of crops, and cut power to 70,000 households.

Pat and Rich Grasman, World Renew DRS regional volunteer managers traveled through Tama County and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, last week to assess needs and make contacts, including meeting with members of Peace CRC and Pastor Gary Brouwers.

They learned that local and government responses have reportedly been slow because of COVID-19 restrictions. They also learned that the most immediate needs right now are for food, water, roof tarps, and assistance with clean up.

“The derecho is hitting Iowa farmers particularly hard,” said Bob Laarman, director for World Renew DRS, “including families who attend Peace CRC and other area churches. This summer’s corn crop, which was about ready to harvest, was flattened and barns and silos collapsed.

“World Renew DRS is working on plans to coordinate one-day volunteers in Cedar Rapids, and we are accepting donations for fall storm response.”

The Grasmans also report that 70 percent of low-income housing in Cedar Rapids and the surrounding area was damaged or destroyed by the storm, and several hundred immigrant and refugee families were displaced.

Please pray for the families and farmers affected by the storm, for CRC and other area churches that are affected. Also pray for World Renew staff and volunteers, as the coronavirus pandemic greatly complicates how disaster responders can help.

Laarman and other staff will be traveling to Iowa to determine the role for one-day volunteers. If you live in Iowa and are interested in assisting with the World Renew DRS response in September, please contact Chris Gibson at 800-848-5818 or email [email protected] to indicate your availability.

World Renew is also accepting donations for the derecho storm response in Iowa. Give now.