Vice President Mike Pence took a look at the raging Elkhorn River at Waterloo, which found itself cut off from the outside world by floodwaters.
Pence visited the flood-stricken areas in Nebraska and Iowa on Tuesday at the request of President Donald Trump.
He met with a group of first responders who helped pluck people from their flooded homes along the river's banks. He also thanked Brad and Mary Brown, who used their recreational airboat to guide rescuers to stranded residents, saying, "I never fail to be inspired at moments like this. It's just the best of America."
Pence later visited a temporary shelter set up at a school in Elkhorn, where about 25 people who had been evacuated from their homes were eating dinner. Several also had pets, as the Nebraska Humane Society had set up a makeshift pet shelter in the school's basement.
Pence says the Trump administration will expedite presidential disaster declarations for Nebraska and Iowa.
Pence says he spoke to the governors of both states shortly after landing in Omaha to assure them federal aid will soon be on the way.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds were among a group of Republican leaders accompanying Pence during a brief tour of damaged areas. Others were U.S. Sens. Ben Sasse, of Nebraska, and Joni Ernst, of Iowa, as well as Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska.
Earlier in the day, Ricketts, who called the flooding "the most widespread disaster we've had in our state's history," signed an emergency declaration for 65 of the state's 93 countries.
Reynolds says 41 of Iowa's 99 counties are included in her state disaster declaration after massive the flooding, which began a week ago.
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The Nebraska Department of Agriculture estimates an initial loss of $400 million in livestock and fields alone. The president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau estimates farm and ranch losses could reach $1 billion.
Additionally, hundreds of miles of state roads and bridges will have to be replaced, according to a news release from Sen. Deb Fischer. The Nebraska Department of Transportation estimates the damage to roads and bridges at about $200 million.
And just like Pence's response to the airboat rescues, Fischer said that she has stopped to take notice of the way the state has come together to lend a helping hand.
"The resilience and resourcefulness of Nebraskans in recent days has impressed the nation," Fischer said in a news release. "As losses mount, the people of our great state hope the federal government will join in these restoration efforts."
The Nebraska Congressional delegation sent a letter to Trump, expressing its "strong support" of Ricketts' emergency declaration, as well as to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"We are grateful for the responsiveness and assistance FEMA has already provided to Nebraskans in need and look forward to continued partnership on behalf of our state," the delegation wrote it its letter to Trump.
#NebraskaStrong photos, videos
Nebraska City aerial
Operation Prairie Hay Drop photos
The #NEGuard has been supporting the ongoing response in Eastern Nebraska following massive flooding on the state’s river systems which began a week ago and caused catastrophic damage to the state’s infrastructure and agriculture.— NE National Guard (@NENationalGuard) March 21, 2019
(3/3)#NebraskaFlood #NebraskaStrong pic.twitter.com/N4zQ2zu2Zx
Missouri River at Nebraska 2/I-29
View of the Platte/Missouri
Edge of Offutt
North Bend ovation
Pence with rescuers
Americans like Brad Brown & his airboat co-pilot Jake Rohr are the heart of the heartland. Brad & Jake have been helping victims of the flooding & delivering much needed supplies. Grateful for their service & ALL the volunteers & emergency personnel helping Nebraskans in need! pic.twitter.com/l2PxhwX6a4— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) March 20, 2019
Lincoln help for Santee Sioux
Buying out the bleach
Help from North Platte
@GitRDoneLarry— Chandra Laine (@ChandraLaine) March 20, 2019
We are a group of volunteers gathering donations in North Platte Ne . We sent one semi to Fremont. We have two more semi trailers almost full.Get our 4th semi on Thursday. To the people, Your battle is our battle. We stand with you. We got you! ❤ #NebraskaStrong pic.twitter.com/wsDRTr0Tr9
Help for farmers
Thanks to generious donations to the Disaster Relief Fund, we were able to deliver supplies to farmers along the Niobrara River. We brought them milk replacement for calves and medicine. Help us do more good by donating to the fund: https://t.co/sFi40cxnwG #nebraskastrong pic.twitter.com/dAGUYDKFpo— Nebraska Farm Bureau (@NEFarmBureau) March 20, 2019
Niobrara ice chunks
Sandbagging at Cooper
Pence in Nebraska
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. THANK YOU! pic.twitter.com/ZA6X7qfeSi— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) March 20, 2019
I-680 Mormon bridge
Sasse surveying damage
Latest from NEMA
Repairing the roads
Beer fridge was stocked!
For those of you that don't know, our state of #Nebraska is going through record flooding. Sometimes though, the world sends you a break. These guys went to their #DuckCamp and found a fully-stocked #BeerFridge. #NebraskaStrong #Flood2019 pic.twitter.com/t8FvdqVQ3g— Fat Boy Wild Game (@gameseasonings) March 19, 2019
Flying in supplies
The Nebraska flooding is so heartbreaking but the whole state has stepped up to help. I can’t be more proud of my brother for flying his plane to Fremont with baby supplies to help. Proud to be from Nebraska #NebraskaFlood #NebraskaStrong @GMA pic.twitter.com/vFZVDj6lm6— Michelle Galles (@WakefieldFCCLA) March 19, 2019
Offutt before and after
I joined the Fremont National Guard in Nebraska today to get an aerial view of flooding impact as we traveled to thank volunteers in Fremont, NE, address a community meeting in Niobrara, and receive a briefing in Lynch.#NebraskaFlood | #NebraskaStrong | #FremontStrong pic.twitter.com/piEXa7TpIq— Scott (@FirstMinScott) March 19, 2019