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Iowa National Guard assists derecho cleanup efforts

Members of the Iowa National Guard work on clearing debris from the Cedar Rapids area.
Members of the Iowa National Guard work on clearing debris from the Cedar Rapids area.(Courtesy: Iowa National Guard/734th Regional Support Group)
Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 3:54 PM CDT
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IOWA (KWQC) - Nearly 200 soldiers and airmen have been mobilized to eastern Iowa to assist emergency management crews in cleanup efforts after a derecho swept through the area on August 10, according to an Iowa National Guard news release.

Capt. Ramah Husidic, Public Affairs Officer for the Iowa National Guard, says 135 truckloads of debris have been removed, totaling to nearly 2.25 million pounds since the beginning operations. A dozen different military crews have cleared about 68 city blocks.

Soldiers and airmen are working closely with local authorities to clear debris from critical infrastructure such as power lines and roadways to help restore electricity to affected areas, according to the news release. The Iowa National Guard’s efforts have been focused in Linn County, one of the most heavily impacted areas in the state.

Capt. Husidic says the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 734th Regional Support Group, and the 185th Air Refueling Wing deployed around 30 dump trucks and additional excavators, backhoes, skid loaders and chainsaws to the Cedar Rapids area on Aug. 14.

The Iowa National Guard says it continues to hear stories of how Iowans, and in particular veterans, have been impacted by the derecho. Citizen soldiers and airmen, like many other Iowans, have been greatly impacted by this storm as well.

Capt. Husidic says the Iowa National Guard is ready to mobilize additional assets to areas that may need more support.

To request support, Iowans are encouraged to reach out to their respective local emergency management coordinators. EMCs are working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and the Iowa National Guard to coordinate aid.

The Iowa National Guard says it is also continuing to support the state’s COVID-19 response efforts. Capt. Husidic says there are nearly 200 soldiers and airmen on duty to support Test Iowa sites and assist with contact tracing.

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