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'We're With You': Vice President Pence Visits Flood-Ravaged Nebraska and Iowa

03-20-2019
Vice President Mike Pence met with Midwest flood victims Tuesday (AP Photo)

Historic Midwest flooding has left more than 80 cities and 70 counties underwater in Nebraska alone. The widespread disaster has struck six states with record flood levels, and it's expected to continue to unfold in some areas. 

Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Nebraska and Iowa to help comfort victims and calm fears by ensuring governmental resources are being used to support all affected by the disaster. 

The disaster has left at least three people dead and two others missing. Hundreds of homes have been flooded and many farmers have lost their livelihood with thousands of acres of crops destroyed, stockpiled grain ruined, and livestock killed.

"To all the families that have seen their homes flooded, seen livestock lost, who've had their lives, their communities upset by these extraordinary floods and severe weather, our message is this: we're with you," said Pence. 

Before promising federal resources and aid would be provided for families in need, Pence flew in a helicopter with Gov. Pete Ricketts (R-NE) and Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) to see the devastation. 

"Surveyed the flood damage in Nebraska & Iowa today by helicopter with @GovRicketts & @IAGovernor to see firsthand the devastation impacting much of the Midwest," tweeted Pence. "@POTUS & I are with the communities impacted & will remain with them as they recover."

After surveying the land, Pence headed to a relief shelter in Elkhorn, Nebraska to meet with flood victims.

"Visited the relief shelter at Elkhorn Middle School today to let the Nebraska flood victims know @POTUS and I are WITH them & to thank the incredible military personnel & @RedCross volunteers helping those impacted," tweeted Pence. "THANK YOU!"

Early damage estimates for the states indicate the losses will exceed a billion dollars. Officials say rebuilding property could cost more than half a billion dollars and agricultural losses are potentially double the amount. Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson has estimated $400 million of crop losses and up to $500 million in livestock losses.

The flooding, which began after a massive late-winter storm, came so quickly that many farmers did not have time to get animals to safety. But even animals that survived are affected.

"Places that haven't seen animal loss have seen a lot of animal stress," stated Chad Hart, an agricultural economist at Iowa State University. "That means they're not gaining weight and won't be marketed in as timely a manner, which results in additional cost." 

"Officials believe everyone got out before thousands of more acres were flooded," he continued. "But so many roads are now closed that some residents must travel more than 100 miles out of their way to get to their jobs at the Cooper Nuclear Station in Nebraska."

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