White House offers prayers, support after tornado kills 5, injures multiple others in Iowa

An EF-3 tornado devastated the small city of Greenfield in Iowa on Tuesday, May 21, 2024
An EF-3 tornado devastated the small city of Greenfield in Iowa on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Screenshot/KCCI

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre offered prayers and support from the Biden administration after five people were reported dead and at least 35 injured after a massive tornado, rated at least an EF-3 by the National Weather Service, swept through Iowa and devastated the small city of Greenfield.

“We are praying for those who tragically lost their lives as deadly tornadoes … ripped through Iowa,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement Wednesday. “We are also wishing a speedy recovery to those who were injured. The Administration is deeply grateful for first responders who jumped into action to save lives.”

A statement from the Iowa Department of Public Safety confirmed four of the fatalities along with the injured but did not release the names of the dead pending notification of family. A fifth fatality, 46-year-old Monica Zamarron, died when high winds blew her vehicle off the roadway near Highway 148 and Joshua Tree Avenue, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office said, according to Western Iowa Today.

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Officials at the Iowa Department of Public Safety said they expect the number of injured to rise.

“It should be noted that it is believed that the number of those injured is likely higher, but these numbers reflect only those patients treated for their injuries at designated alternate care sites,” the agency said. “At least 14 patients were transported to out-of-county medical facilities by various EMS Services. If you believe that a friend or loved one is still unaccounted for, please call the Iowa Department of Public Safety Storm Lake State Communication Center at 712.732.1341.”

On Thursday, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell toured the tornado damage in Greenfield.

Ahead of their meeting, Reynolds said she sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to make a presidential disaster declaration to help Iowa.

“This morning, I sent a letter to the White House requesting a Presidential Disaster Declaration to help Iowa communities impacted by Tuesday’s severe weather,” she said in a statement on X.

Many of the survivors of the tornado recalled praying and leaning on their faith as it wreaked havoc on their homes and communities.

Valerie Warrior, a survivor from Greenfield, told ABC 9 that she took refuge from the storm in her basement.

”Before I went down the basement, I went all around my house, and I prayed. I prayed for God to keep us safe,” she said. “I’m just praying that everybody was safe. Everybody is safe and nobody got hurt.”

Maggie Masker, also from Greenfield, said she is grateful to God that no one from her family died.

“I’m just thanking Jesus that we’re all here,” she said. “I knew my daughter was OK, she was at daycare, and all my family and friends who live right here were all OK. The dog wasn’t here, but we found her. So I’m just so thankful to God that we’re all here.”

As a result of the damage, Greenfield is now limiting access to the city.

“Access to Greenfield will continue to be limited tomorrow to permit access for equipment operators and contractors to conduct cleanup efforts using heavy equipment. Only volunteers connected to residents within the City of Greenfield or authorized contractors will be permitted entry. All other individuals will be refused access to ensure safety and efficient recovery operations,” a statement from Adair & Guthrie County EMA said.

Volunteers are asked to enter the city from the north on Highway 25 at 9:00 a.m. or after. Contractors requiring authorization or with existing credentials should enter from the east on Highway 92.

“This process is being utilized to minimize traffic congestion in impacted areas and facilitate safe operating conditions for volunteers in the area. Please avoid parking vehicles and trailers in the immediate disaster area. Where possible, please minimize the number of vehicles brought into the city,” the agency said.

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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