The new chief of federal disaster relief efforts is scheduled to tour flood-damaged areas of eastern Iowa this afternoon. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will begin her tour in Cedar Rapids, according to Governor Chet Culver. "Starting with a visit of Mercy Hospital at 2:30 p.m. and a tour of the downtown area," Culver says.
Napolitano will speak with the media after that tour, then the group will drive south. "At five o’clock, we will meet with University of Iowa officials and tour the flood-impacted areas of the campus in Iowa City," Culver says.
Culver asked Napolitano to bring along administrators from other federal agencies involved in flood recovery, like Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services, so they can see for themselves the damage that remains from last spring’s flooding. "I’m honored that just three weeks after taking office Secretary Napolitano will be on the ground here in Iowa to see both the work that has been completed and, most importantly, the work that remains," Culver says. "And I look forward to working with her and the entire Obama Administration in meeting the millions and millions of dollars we need in terms of the unmet needs that our state is faced with."
Napolitano’s first stop will be the Cedar Rapids hospital where patients were evacuated on June 13 as flood waters swamped the facility.