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Trump approves Iowa disaster declaration following derecho damage

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday announced that President Donald Trump will visit the state Tuesday to survey damage from a powerful derecho after approving a $4 billion disaster declaration. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday announced that President Donald Trump will visit the state Tuesday to survey damage from a powerful derecho after approving a $4 billion disaster declaration. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 17 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Monday approved Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds' request for a major disaster declaration after a powerful derecho tore through the state last week.

Reynolds requested nearly $4 billion in federal aid Sunday to help the state recover from the storm that tore through the Midwest United States, leaving hundreds of thousands of Iowans without power and damaging millions of acres of crops.

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"From cities to farms, Iowans are hurting, many still have challenges with shelter, food and power," Reynolds wrote Sunday. "Resilience is in our DNA, but we're going to need a strong and timely federal response to support recovery efforts."

During a press conference Monday, Reynolds said that Trump would travel to Iowa to tour storm damage on Tuesday after approving the declaration.

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"Just approved (and fast) the FULL Emergency Declaration for the Great State of Iowa," Trump wrote on Twitter Monday. "They got hit hard by record-setting winds."

Reynolds estimated that 8,273 homes were destroyed or sustained major damage in the storm.

The derecho also flattened more than 10 million acres of crops, including 43% of the state's corn and soybean yields.

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The Iowa National Guard said 2 million pounds of debris have been removed from 68 blocks in Cedar Rapids.

More than 300,000 people were without power in the immediate aftermath of the storm and 67,917 outages persisted on Monday, according to poweroutage.us.

Representatives from Alliant Energy said crews are replacing 2,500 power poles and pledged to restore powers to 90% of its customers by Tuesday.

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Reynolds on Monday said that recovering from the storm damage would be a long road that will amount to "more than just flipping a switch."

"As we've had the opportunity to drive around, there just are not words to describe the devastation we have witnessed," she said.

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