Samaritan’s Purse Responds in Midwest After Fierce Derecho

August 12, 2020 • United States

Two of our U.S. Disaster Relief units have now been sent to Iowa, where a powerful storm caused widespread damage.

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Update (Aug. 15): A second deployment has been announced, centered on Tama County, Iowa. Wind damage there is similar to that in Cedar Rapids. A disaster relief unit and other vehicles will leave North Carolina on Sunday headed to Iowa. Please for staff, volunteers, and Rapid Response Team chaplains as they all minister to hurting homeowners in these areas of Iowa.


Parts of the Midwest are struggling to recover after a derecho barreled for 700 miles from South Dakota and western Iowa through the Corn Belt all the way to Ohio. A derecho is a widespread, long-lived, and fast-moving type of violent storm known for straight-line winds. During this Aug. 10 storm, wind gusts reached as high as 112 miles per hour.

Volunteers are patching damaged roofs and clearing yard debris in storm-struck Iowa.

Volunteers are patching damaged roofs and clearing yard debris in storm-struck Iowa.

Iowa and Illinois felt the brunt of this expansive system, which some call an “inland hurricane.” The fierce weather damaged homes, churches, and businesses; caused power outages for more than 1 million people; tossed vehicles into the air; felled trees; and killed one Indiana woman.

A Samaritan’s Purse U.S. Disaster Relief Unit and another vehicle were sent out on Aug. 11 and more vehicles departed the next day. After meeting with local leaders and churches to assess needs in affected communities, we have established a base at Hillside Wesleyan Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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Day volunteers began Aug. 14, with protocols in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Due to the breadth and severity of damage caused by this storm system, we plan to be working in this area into September.

Overnight volunteers will be housed at New Covenant Bible Church, also in Cedar Rapids, starting Aug. 16.

Please pray for those hurting after this disaster and for our volunteer teams as we respond in Jesus’ Name.

Volunteers present a Billy Graham Study Bible to a homeowner we helped in Iowa.

Volunteers present a Billy Graham Study Bible to a homeowner we helped in Iowa.

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U.S. Disaster Relief Samaritan's Purse mobilizes and equips thousands of volunteers to provide emergency aid to U.S. victims of wildfires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. In the aftermath of major storms, we often stay behind to rebuild houses for people with nowhere else to turn for help.

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