FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 20, 2020
CONTACT: Iowa Sister States, Monty Freeman: 515.348.6265 | Monty.Freeman@IowaSisterStates.org
Des Moines – The Iowa Legislature’s International Relations Committee met to address the deadly spread of coronavirus in Iowa’s sister cities in China. The Legislature is partnering with sister-cities’ local leaders in Dubuque, Davenport, Muscatine, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, along with industry and business across Iowa, to ship relief supplies to communities in China under siege from coronavirus – and they are asking for the help of every Iowan.
“Friendship is more than a trade partnership; Iowa has a strong tradition of helping our sister-cities and fellow citizens of the world in need. Our friends are asking to help save lives and we are asking Iowans to assist in any way they are able,” said Senator Zach Nunn (R-Bondurant), Chair of the Joint Senate-House International Relations Committee. Legislative efforts are being support by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad.
“This is a multi-partner approach, across parties and across Iowa to help our long-term friends in China and aim to reduce tensions on a people to people level,” stated Sen. William Dotzler (D-Waterloo) ranking member of the committee.
High school legislative pages have taken to social media to raise awareness and help Iowa Sister States facilitate donations, to include reaching back to their hometowns to ask for medical masks from local doctors, and safety goggles from construction sites. “Hearing first-hand how a doctor in Iowa’s sister-city attempted to help fight the virus, became infected, and she and her entire family died inspired several of us to get involved and help in every way possible,” said Erica Nasstrom, of Osage High School, Osage. “We’ve set up alerts on social media and are passing along Iowan’s notes of compassion to folks in China to let them know we support them,” commented Kanyon Huntington, of East Union High School, Afton.
The Health Impact to Iowa’s Sister-Cities
As of Wednesday, over 75,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus outbreak had taken hold, with the death toll quickly surpassing 2,000 individuals, making it one of the worst outbreaks globally. “The number of confirmed cases in Iowa’s sister-state Hebei province has exploded,” said Dr William Zhang, who briefed legislators. Infections rose quickly this week to 265, with Tangshan, the sister-city of Cedar Rapids having 35 infected; Handan, sister-city of Dubuque having 31; Langfang, the sister-city of Davenport having 29; and Shijiazhuang, sister-city of Des Moines & Muscatine, having 27 cases. The outbreak is expected to continue into the long-term.
Plea for Assistance
Iowa Sister States (ISS) is coordinating a relief effort for quarantined citizens in sister-cities with essential donations. “What is critical at this time is medical supplies and sanitary items,” said ISS Executive Director Monty Freeman.
Iowa is asking for help and donations for these critical need items:
- One-time use protection gowns
- Medical masks (n95)
- One-time use surgical masks
- One-time use medical masks
- One-time use medical gloves
- Protective eye glasses
- Donations for shipping
The Iowa Sister States’ Hebei Committee is leading a donation campaign. If Iowa businesses, medical facilities or communities have an ability to donate any of the supplies listed, it can be sent c/o Luca Berrone at SACMI USA, 3434 106th Cir., Urbandale, IA 50322. Donations may also be dropped with Iowa Sister States at c/o Monty Freeman at ISS, 1963 Bell Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309.
Many Iowans are ready to take action and assist the people, families, and friends in China impacted by the large-scale coronavirus outbreak during this difficult time. Donations to Iowa Sister States will be shipped immediately to Hebei Province.
Updates can be monitored at Iowa Sister States: https://www.facebook.com/IowaSisterStates/
Monetary donations are tax-deductible and can be offered at the link on the Iowa Sister States website: https://www.iowasisterstates.org