Red Cross says it could take 3-5 days before Cedar Rapids sees an effective response

Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 7:45 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Even though the Derecho hit Cedar Rapids on Monday, the Red Cross said an effective response is still 3 to 5 days away.

About four days after the storm, there are still thousands of people without power and Alliant Energy said at a press conference on Thursday it could take 5 to 7 days to get power back for customers.

The Red Cross also said the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more difficult to set up shelters because it was hard to follow social distancing rules. That means it can fit fewer people in a shelter and has been putting up people in hotels as far as Cedar Falls.

Peter Teahen, who has worked more than 10 hurricane landfall operations, said the delayed response has occurred because there was very little preparation for this storm because there was no warning.

He also said a lot of the relief efforts are still focused on the northeast portion of the United States after Hurricane Isaias hit them last week.

“For instance, on the utility situation, a lot of people who deal with utilities were on the east coast for the hurricane,” Teahen said. “And so your seeing convoys of people coming back, so then you’ll see electricity.”

He said to him the situation in eastern Iowa is very similar to a hurricane operation where the first three or four days are total chaos.

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