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  • Writer's pictureNEIA Red Cross

UPDATED 8/27/20 - Response to Iowa Derecho Continues

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

August 27, 2020 Update


August 26, 2020 Update

The American Red Cross will close its shelter at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum (50 2nd Ave. Bridge, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 52401) on Saturday, August 29 at 10 a.m. The Red Cross has been working with community partners to help residents transition out of the shelter. On Saturday, those still in need of accommodations will be transferred to a shelter operated by the City of Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Willis Dady and Waypoint Services.

Red Cross shelters are designed to meet the immediate short-term needs of impacted residents until long-term efforts can get underway. The Red Cross also plays a crucial role in helping families and communities recover in the weeks and months after a disaster.

Additionally, the Red Cross is offering financial assistance to households whose homes were destroyed or sustained major damage by the derecho. Caseworkers have worked with shelter residents to identify if they are eligible for the assistance. Others who qualify, can call 800- RED CROSS and select prompt 4 to complete an application.

Since the derecho hit Iowa on August 10, the Red Cross opened a total of three shelters and provided additional lodging in hotels throughout Iowa. It total, more than 2,000 overnight stays have been provided to those affected by the storm and ensuing power outages.


August 24, 2020 Update


August 21, 2020 Update

Red Cross Announces Emergency Financial Assistance Program Following the Iowa Derecho

As we continue to provide services for those affected by the derecho that hit Iowa on August 10, the American Red Cross will deliver emergency financial assistance to households whose residences sustained major damage or were destroyed. Qualified households will be eligible for $450 to support emergency needs. Funds will be made available using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).

To complete applications, heads of household are encouraged to call 1-800-REDCROSS, and select prompt 4. The financial assistance application requires a valid text enabled phone number and/or an email address for processing.

Financial assistance will allow people to make their own decisions and prioritize what they need to start recovering. Funds can help families replace clothes or food, offset transportation costs or support other immediate needs. This financial support is in addition to the other services the Red Cross continues to provide, including cleaning supplies, food, health and mental health support, and spiritual care.

The Red Cross is prepared to provide financial assistance to hundreds of households that sustained major damage or were destroyed when the derecho occurred in Central and Eastern Iowa, as determined by Red Cross disasters assessment teams.

Major damage is indicated by significant structural damage to a residence that requires extensive repairs. This may include substantial failure of the roof, walls or foundation. A residence that is destroyed is one that is a total loss or with damage so extensive that repair is not feasible.

To qualify for Red Cross immediate assistance, heads of household may be asked to verify their identity and residency. Documentation to validate identity can include U.S. or foreign passport, government issued driver’s license or ID, permanent resident card or consular identification. Documents to validate proof of residence can include a valid government issued driver’s license or ID, a deed, a mortgage statement, a lease or rental agreement on property letterhead signed by landlord, a monthly utility bill or bank statement, or an official document such as mail from a child’s school or vehicle insurance card, dated between July 11, 2020 and September 9, 2020.

All Red Cross services, including financial assistance, are free and available to whoever needs it, regardless of citizenship or residency status, nationality, race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.

Regardless of whether a household qualifies for immediate financial assistance, other forms of Red Cross support are available for everyone affected. This support includes cleaning supplies, food, health and mental health support, spiritual care and more. To learn about other resources that may be available to assist households as a result of Iowa Derecho, call 2-1-1 or visit

The Red Cross has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to fraud and will aggressively pursue fraudulent activities. If you are aware of fraud, please contact your local law enforcement or the Red Cross at or through our toll-free Concern Connection Line at 1-888-309-9679.


August 18, 2020 Update

Over the past week, more than 180 Red Cross volunteers have been helping residents of Central and Eastern Iowa following the derecho on Monday, August 10. The Red Cross has provided affected individuals and families a safe place to stay, meals and emergency supplies.

Since the storm, the Red Cross has:

  • Provided 142 overnights stays in congregate shelters. Two congregate shelters are currently open:

    • Veterans Memorial Coliseum (50 2nd Ave. Bridge, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 52401)

    • Palo Community Center (2800 Hollenbeck Road, Palo, Iowa 52304)

  • Provided over 900 hotel stays to people across Iowa who were affected.

  • Distributed more than 4,000 meals and snacks to those in shelters and hotels.

  • Received 21,000 Meals Ready to Eat (MRE), which are being delivered to government and community partners who are distributing them to the community.

  • Begun distribution of emergency relief supplies, which includes clean-up items like rakes, shovels, and tarps to help people get back into their homes as power is restored

  • Made nearly 750 health services contacts.

The Red Cross provides services to anyone and everyone impacted by disaster and is working with community partners to connect with residents who are in need of assistance.

Download the Red Cross Emergency App for shelter information and to get instant access to information and resources. The app is free and can be downloaded in app stores by searching for “American Red Cross” or going to

The Red Cross needs three critical resources to respond to the storm: time, money and blood. To help those impacted by the storm, visit or call 1-800-REDCROSS. Patients continue to need blood during storms and power outages. Donors are urged to make an appointment to give now using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device


August 16, 2020 Update

We know how devastating the effects of last week's derecho continues to be for folks in Iowa, and we are helping. A volunteer workforce of more than 120 people are hard at work serving those affected by last week’s storms and power outages.

The Red Cross has two shelters open in Linn County, located at: • Palo Community Center (2800 Hollenbeck Road, Palo, Iowa 52304). • Veterans Memorial Coliseum (50 2nd Ave. Bridge, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 52401)

We also continue to house several individuals in hotels throughout Iowa.

We have begun disturbing more than 21,000 Meals-Ready-to-Eat (MREs). We are working with local emergency management officials and community partners on getting those to residents. Plans are also being finalized for the distribution of relief supplies. Stay tuned for more information on the distribution of the MREs and supplies.

Our disaster health services and disaster mental health teams are also available and have been working with individuals and families throughout Central and Eastern Iowa.

We will continue to keep you updated on how folks can connect with our services. Please let us know if you or someone you know needs help by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS and select option “4”, then option “2”, then option “2” again.

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