Pacifique Mushishi stands in front of the apartment complex where he lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The rooftop was completely torn off in the Aug. 10, 2020, derecho, which packed hurricane-force winds. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Pacifique Mushishi survived refugee camps in the Congo and has been living a similar existence since the Aug. 10 derecho hit Iowa with winds estimated at 140 mph.

The Cedar Terrace apartment complex where he had been living in southwest Cedar Rapids was decimated in the hurricane-force storm, and while he and other residents have been receiving help, they are returning to the apartments to try to pick up pieces of their lives.

More: See photos of damage from the derecho windstorm

One of his friends, also from the Congo, was looking for someone to assist with his car that was damaged in the storm, which wreaked havoc throughout the city and across the state and killed three Iowans.

Neither of the two, nor another friend from Rwanda, had heard of the FEMA assistance for which they might qualify. In the meantime, they were provided with hotel rooms for two weeks and said they appreciate the food offered by volunteers.

Pacifique Mushishi, right, stands with friends from the Congo and Rwanda at the Cedar Terrace Apartments on Aug. 21, 2020. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

With rooftops ripped off some of the apartments, broken windows and other damage throughout, even surviving the windstorm was a feat, with the friends describing in French and broken English how neighbors in a nearby complex took children and others to their building’s lower level.

The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation created a disaster fund for derecho recovery. If you can, please donate at:

The apartment dwellers were not the only ones still suffering in the 12th day of the derecho’s aftermath.

As of the morning of Aug. 21, more than 10,000 Linn County residents, mostly in Cedar Rapids and Marion, remained without electricity, with high temperatures forecast for this weekend.

A federal disaster declaration was finally approved for the state a full week after the derecho, but without the individual assistance that would help residents with costs not covered by insurance.

Linn County was approved Thursday, Aug. 20, to receive that aid through the federal individual assistance program, but so far, for the thousands of residents needing help with tree removal, no coverage was provided for that expensive task.

Related: Trump makes brief stop in storm-ravaged Iowa

See more photos of damage from the derecho, below:

Balconies crumpled, windows were shattered and the roof torn off this Cedar Terrace apartment building during the derecho. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Winds estimated at 140 mph tore through southwest Cedar Rapids Aug. 10, 2020, damaging buildings such as this laundromat at Wiley Boulevard and 22nd Avenue SW. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Crews with BluSky work Aug. 21, 2020, to clean outside the storm-ravaged Westdale Court Apartments in southwest Cedar Rapids. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

The upper floor of this apartment building in southwest Cedar Rapids was exposed to the elements after the Aug. 10, 2020, derecho. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

A car, crushed in the derecho, remains in front of a home in northeast Cedar Rapids on Aug. 21, 2020. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

A tree uprooted during the Aug. 10 derecho still covers a house at D Avenue and 23rd Street NE on Aug. 21, 2020. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Buildings throughout Cedar Rapids were decimated by the Aug. 10 derecho, including the Tires Plus business at 120 Collins Rd. SE. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Built in 1996, the Marion Public Library was among buildings heavily damaged in the Aug. 10 derecho in Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

The interior of the Marion Public Library is seen through an open door after cleanup was underway following the Aug. 10 derecho. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

A sign asks for ice for a homeowner in southeast Cedar Rapids, who was still waiting for power to be restored 11 days after Iowa’s derecho. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

The ImOn Ice Arena in southwest Cedar Rapids was among buildings decimated in the Aug. 10 derecho. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

An ice skate remains in the rubble from the ImOn Ice Arena after the derecho windstorm in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)