Benton County Emergency Management officials say they’ve only completed 15 percent of the clean up work after last Monday’s storms that produced 100 mile-an-hour straight line winds. Roofs were blown off homes and buildings, power lines were severed and in Vinton about 75-percent of the town’s trees were destroyed.
Benton County Emergency Management spokesman Jason White says,”This is a very long, drawn out process. It was just so wide and so much damage was done.” White says the number of volunteers dropped off after the weekend, but with so much to be done and a heat wave settling in, the county is asking for people to stick it out until the job is done.
Tim Malott is managing volunteer groups from a staging area in Vinton “We need all the volunteers we can get,” Malott said. “We’ve got tree limbs down everywhere. They’re putting them on the side of the street, it’s an endless job right now…but it will have an end.” Malott says they’ll take anyone willing to pick up branches, limbs and just work.
The Salvation Army has opened a cooling center in Benton County where volunteers can take breaks. People who are interested in helping are asked to call United Way 2-1-1. Governor Branstad issued emergency disaster proclamations last week for Benton, Tama, Marshall and Story Counties — which allows state resources to be utilized to help local officials respond to and recover from the storms.
By Jillian Petrus, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids