Edward, My home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa just had its third “once in a lifetime” climate disaster in twelve years.
As you read this, thousands of people in Iowa are still living in a humanitarian crisis after a massive “inland hurricane” caused straight-line wind damage across the state. In many places. there’s still no cell phone signal or internet. Twenty schools are closed indefinitely due to damage. For days there was no gasoline for hours upon hours of driving. A quarter of a million people went without power for over a week, during a pandemic.
This is the reality of climate disasters. As climate change accelerates, storms like this will continue to destroy communities like mine, while our elected officials sit idly by. National attention missed Iowa, and Trump only initially approved 1.5% of the FEMA aid we requested. We’re mobilizing to protect each other and rebuild, but we need more support.
That’s why I’m asking you to donate to our hurricane relief fund now. We’re organizing for a Green New Deal to stop climate disasters like this one from continuing to get worse, but in the meantime, there is immediate need here we must meet.
This week, I delivered supplies to senior centers where residents were trapped on the second and third floors of their buildings without access to food or water. At sites where there are communities of climate refugees living—people forced to leave their homes because of the climate damage that’s already occurred—people told us living in Iowa this week was like being back in a refugee camp. There were people sleeping in tents on top of the rubble of their condemned apartment buildings for five days or more. It took that long for an overnight shelter to open for those unhoused by the storm. What’s happening in Iowa is heartbreaking, and unacceptable.
I am terrified for my community and home. But even more, I am angry at the failed leadership of politicians in my home state and around the country.
The same politicians that denied climate change disasters would happen are now denying that our suffering is real. Trump visited Cedar Rapids for a few hours on Tuesday, eight days after the storm hit. He did not leave the Eastern Iowa Airport. He initially approved only 1.15% of the requested FEMA funding for our state, and did not include aid for those whose homes were destroyed, or for the damage to farms.
I need my elected officials to respond to the climate crisis with the energy and compassion that our volunteers, grassroots organizers, and nonprofits do. I need elected officials to take care of our communities as urgently as the people dragging coolers door to door making sure people have something to eat tonight do. I want them to use their massive amounts of resources and influence to fight for a Green New Deal to save people and the planet.
But I’ve also been so inspired by what we can do for our community when we organize. Sunrise Cedar Rapids is mobilizing with others to raise funds to offer food and essential supplies to folks impacted by the storm. The more you give, the more people we can help.
Right now, community organizing is the best thing we have to recover from this storm while we build for a livable future. Please support it by donating here now.
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