Iowans with Health Issues Struggle with Power Outage


DES MOINES, Iowa — A block on Des Moines’ east side is one of many neighborhoods still without power, but the surrounding areas have had electricity restored. Residents are airing their frustrations because many of them are dealing with difficult medical issues.

Alan Dunkerson and his wife Becky live on a block of about 12 households who are still without power, even though every surrounding block in their neighborhood has power restored.

Alan said he understands they are not the only ones in Iowa without power right now, but is in a compromising situation with his pancreatic cancer.

“I’m a cancer patient, we have two diabetics on the street…and we have a neighbor that uses oxygen,” he said.

The Dunkersons and other neighbors on the block said they have been calling MidAmerican daily, but the timeline for getting their power restored keeps getting pushed back.

“The first time they said we’d get it back by Tuesday, which we did not get,” Alan said. “Then they told us Thursday at noon and we still don’t have power as we speak now.”

His wife Becky said when she was on the phone with the company, a representative told her it was because a power line in their neighborhood was down — but she has walked around and said there is not a broken pole anywhere near them.

Since then, the Dunkersons and many of their neighbors had to toss groceries that did not keep fresh in the fridge, and are looking for options while they wait for power back. But in a pandemic, it is not as easy.

“We could find a motel but it’s hard to find one without power outage, plus the rates are raised,” Alan said. “Also I could be exposed to people and could catch a cold or god forbid, COVID-19.”

His wife Becky worries for their neighbors who are on oxygen tanks, and also need power restored immediately.

“We are watching out for each other and encouraging each other, moral support is so important,” she said.

On the MidAmerican outage map, it appears as if their block already has its power restored, but that is not the case.

“Did they forget us? We are just one little block that didn’t get picked up and if that’s the case let’s fix it. We have not seen any trucks at all…so that’s our concern,” Becky said.

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