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USDA Continues to Provide Assistance to Oklahoma Tornado Survivors

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Development (RD), Okalahoma State Director, Ryan McMullen delivers refreshments to disaster relief workers. USDA photo by Kathleen James.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Development (RD), Oklahoma State Director, Ryan McMullen delivers refreshments to disaster relief workers. USDA photo by Kathleen James.

USDA personnel continue to assist the State of Oklahoma and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the wake of the tornadoes and heavy rains that occurred this week.

Earlier this week, USDA announced that it was working to assist Oklahomans who were left homeless by providing FEMA with a list of vacant USDA-financed apartments in the area.  USDA is also working with FEMA by providing information on vacant government-financed single family homes.  Individuals needing immediate help finding emergency housing are asked to contact FEMA directly. USDA is also working to assist owners of USDA-financed homes in the disaster area that have direct or guaranteed mortgages.   If you have questions about your USDA mortgage, please call USDA’s Centralized Servicing Center at 800-414-1226.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)  has personnel assisting the State by conducting pet shelter assessments and technical assistance with animal carcass removal.  APHIS has assessed four animal shelters, observing more than 250 pets with no unmet needs.  APHIS continues to work with the National Animal Rescue and Sheltering Coalition and the National Alliance of State Animal and Agricultural Emergency Programs on pet issues.

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) Southwest Regional Office is in daily contact with the Oklahoma State Distributing Agency and the Oklahoma Department of Education. The State Distributing Agency has provided an inventory of available USDA Foods. FNS has also obtained available inventories from surrounding States.  Currently, there are two FNS staff members on site conducting spot checks at various shelters in Moore, Oklahoma and surrounding tornado-impacted areas. No unmet food or water needs have been identified.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) identified four sites which timber and debris is impairing water channels and potentially affecting roadways, bridges, and culverts.   NRCS has allocated almost $500,000 in emergency funding to begin work on any sites which pose significant hazards. Several other sites have also been identified.

USDA has also issued food safety advice for those in the affected area.

Individuals interested in providing assistance to the tornado victims are encouraged to contact the American Red Cross.

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