Derecho Recovery Resources

The derecho that swept across Iowa on August 10, 2020 left behind a trail of destruction and has devastated communities across our stateWhile hearing firsthand from Iowans on the ground and assessing the heartbreaking damage sustained by our communities, I have seen folks step up and come together to help their neighbors in need. It’s the Iowa way.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has issued disaster proclamations to mobilize critical resources for over two dozen counties. This proclamation, includes grant assistance, debris removal services, and other essential supplies. At the federal level, I am committed to providing my support and assistance to Iowans as they work to recover from the derecho.  

Please visit the resources listed below for more information on how to receive assistance during this challenging time. My staff is also available to provide guidance and assistance, so please do not hesitate to reach out. Stay strong, stay safe, and together, we will get through this.

Federal Resources

President Trump approved Governor Kim Reynolds’ request for a major disaster declaration to mobilize the use of federal resources to support Iowa’s derecho recovery and rebuilding efforts. The declaration authorizes FEMA’s Public Assistance Program and includes hazard mitigation funding to reduce the impact of future disasters.

Visit the Iowa Department of Homeland Security or FEMA website for news and information on the federal resources authorized under the declaration.

Individuals and business owners in Greene, Grundy, Guthrie, Hardin, Iowa, Jackson, Washington, Benton, Boone, Cedar, Jasper, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, and Tama Counties may now apply for the FEMA Individual Assistance Program. FEMA Individual Assistance can provide disaster-affected homeowners, renters, and businesses with programs and services to maximize recovery, including assistance with housing, personal property replacement, and medical expenses. Linn County was approved for Individual Assistance on August 20.

Iowans in these counties who have sustained losses can apply for assistance online or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 for TTY users. Users of 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) may call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. CST, seven days a week, until further notice.

The IRS has extended tax deadlines for Iowans impacted by the derecho, allowing businesses and individuals to file tax returns and make tax payments until December 15, 2020. The tax relief applies to areas under FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program, which includes Benton, Boone, Cedar, Jasper, Linn, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story and Tama Counties. Visit the IRS website for further information on tax relief available to Iowans in affected parts of the state.

Appeal a FEMA Decision 

Iowans have the right to appeal a FEMA derecho assistance decision regarding determined eligibility or the form of help they’ve provided. For more information on the most common reasons for ineligibility, visit FEMA's website. Decisions can also be appealed by doing either of the following: 

  • Mail an appeal letter to FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program, National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville MD 20782-7055.
  • Fax an appeal letter to 1-800-827-8112.
  • Iowans can also submit an appeal online via a FEMA online account. Visit www.DisasterAssistance.gov, click on “Check Status” and follow the directions to establish an account.

If you have questions about the decision letter you were provided, call FEMA at 800-621-3362 or TTY at 800-462-7585. 

Unemployment

Iowans in Benton, Boone, Cedar, Jasper, Linn, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, and Tama counties can now apply for FEMA's Disaster Unemployment Assistance program online through Iowa Workforce Development. For assistance over the phone, call 1-866-239-0843. 

Individuals from Linn County must file their applications by September 24, 2020. Iowans from Benton, Boone, Cedar, Jasper, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, and Tama counties must file for assistance by October 2, 2020. Click the link for more info on eligibility.

State Level Programs

The proclamations issued by Governor Kim Reynolds have activated programs to assist Iowans faced with injury, displacement or the loss of personal items. 

The Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program provides Iowans with aid for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food, and temporary housing expenses:

  • Iowans are eligible for grants of up to $5,000 with a household income of up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or a maximum annual income of $43,440 for a family of three
  • For additional information, call toll-free 1-877-347-5678. To apply, visit the Iowa Department of Human Services website.

The Iowa Disaster Case Management program provides assistance to Iowans who have been injured from or impacted by natural disasters while coordinating a Disaster Recovery Plan.

  • Under the program, there are no income eligibility requirements and it will remain active until 180 days following the governor's proclamation.

Debris Clean-Up

Cities across Iowa are providing debris clean-up services to assist Iowans working to recover from the derecho.

  • Locations in Linn County are now open for Iowans to drop off debris for free between 7am and 7pm every day. Visit the link for more info on locations offering this service.
  • Linn County Emergency Management is offering information for debris removal services on their website
  • Contact your city officials to learn more about how to participate in debris clean-up services in your area.

Elderly or disabled Iowans in Polk County who are in need of assistance for removing derecho debris should call 2-1-1. Polk County Emergency Management will connect these folks with volunteer organizations who are able to help.

Food Assistance and Electricity

The United States Department of Agriuclture is offering Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to Iowans in Linn, Polk, Boone, Jasper, Poweshiek, Story, Marshall, Scott, Benton, Cedar, and Tama Counties in response to the derecho. Visit the link for more information on eligibility and how to apply.

A number of organizations across the state are providing food assistance to Iowans impacted by the derecho. To see an up-to-date list of active food pantries and locations serving hot meals, visit the Iowa.gov website.


The power outages caused by the derecho have left Iowans dependent on medical equipment vulnerable and in need of support. Visit this link to see a list of locations offering electricity and charging stations for medical and electronic devices.

Displaced Iowans

A new FEMA Disaster Recovery Center is open in Linn County to help Iowans with derecho assistance applications. The center is located at 950 Rockford Rd. SW in Cedar Rapids and is open between 9 AM and 6 PM, Monday – Saturday.

The American Red Cross is providing critical resources to assist Iowa with recovery efforts, including shelter, food, and guidance for Iowans as repair crews work to restore power across the state. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance following the derecho, call 1-800-RED-CROSS and dial 0 to speak with a representative.

Iowans who lost their homes to the derecho and have been displaced should call the State Helpline Center at 2-1-1, or toll free at 1-800-244-7431 to receive information regarding available assistance.

Iowans in Benton, Boone, Cedar, Jasper, Linn, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, and Tama Counties who paid for temporary lodging following the derecho may be eligible for reimbursement from FEMA. Click the link or call 800-621-3362 to apply. 

A list of shelter services and resources for housing assistance is available through the Office of the Governor on the Iowa.gov Disaster Recovery website.

U-Haul facilities across the state are offering Iowans one month of free access to a self-storage unit. Find the locations offering this service here.

Mental Health Support

Trained volunteers with the Iowa Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team are providing mental health support to Iowans who need assistance in the aftermath of the derecho. For more information on their services and other mental health resources available in Iowa, visit the Iowa.gov website.

Farmers and Producers

Iowa’s farmers and producers are grappling with the impacts of the derecho, and many have lost livestock, crops, and are in need of financial assistance. 

U.S. Department of Agriuclture Secretary Sonny Perdue has approved Governor Kim Reynolds' request for a disaster designation for 18 counties in Iowa. Farmers and producers in Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clinton, Dallas, Guthrie, Hamilton, Hardin, Jasper, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story, and Tama may be eligible to apply for emergency loans. For more information on how to apply, visit the USDA Farm Service Agency website.

The USDA is mobilizing a number of resources to assist farmers and members of the agriculture community in need.

Small Businesses and Non-Profits

The Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans provide economic relief to small businesses and non-profit organizations that are experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Visit the SBA website for more information on eligibility.

College Students   

Colleges and universities across the state are providing students, faculty, and staff with updated information on the storm recovery efforts as students prepare to return for the fall semester.

Iowa State University has established a website with live storm recovery updates found here. Drive-up WiFi locations have been established at the University of Iowa in response the derecho. Find a list of the locations on campus here.

Iowa State Parks

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is assisting in the recovery process and providing resources to Iowans impacted by the derecho. The storms have caused some of Iowa’s state parks to close or remain closed indefinitely. Click here for a complete list of Iowa State Parks closures from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Volunteer Assistance

There are a number of volunteer organizations across Iowa who are providing their services to help with storm relief and recovery efforts. To seek assistance or volunteer your support to help fellow Iowans in need, visit the following pages: