Tribal Response Emergency Manager Roxane Warnell says many homes had roofs torn off and the rain got inside. “I tell people we are just now getting over the top and maybe into recovery — because this whole first week has just been response, it’s just been response, “Warnell says. “Because we lost power — we lost power for seven days — and we are just now getting it back. I think we may be at 90 percent.”
There were many downed trees and debris that had to be removed before they could start rebuilding. Warnell says they’ve been fortunate to be able to provide shelter for those who were pushed out of their homes. “When it’s a small area impacted you get all of your neighboring counties mutual aid people coming in to help — but when it is so widespread — you are all competing for those same resources,” according to Warnell. “We were fortunate at the tribal level that we have a casino here and so our displaced people were being put up over at the hotel. We are also feeding them there and without that resource, we would have been staying in tents.”
She says they will seek federal help in recovering. “There are different options for tribal nations, we are a federally recognized tribe. And that option is to ask FEMA directly for help instead of going under the state. So, the tribe is working with FEMA now. We are actually compiling our damage assessments and our reports,” Warnell explains. She says FEMA representatives have already visited as they went around to other communities that were hit by the derecho.
Warnell says the damage is already adding up. She says the initial assessment is already more than one million dollars. Warnell says there have been many people who have chipped in to help. “We are thankful that there have been a lot of people who have reached out — such as the Burr Oak land Trust — sending saw teams in. We are getting donations from food banks, we are getting donations from some of the meat lockers. Everybody in Iowa who can are just stepping up and offering help,” Warnell says.
She says the appreciate any donations — but asks that you call ahead first so they can be sure they can handle them.