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Posts tagged: disaster

Secretary’s Column: USDA’s Accomplishments in 2012

Over the course of 2012, farm families and rural communities faced a number of challenges. A record drought impacted much of the country and many were impacted by a major hurricane, flooding and severe storms. However, thanks to the resilience of rural Americans, our communities are still going strong.

Over the course of this year, USDA continued our record efforts to help folks across our nation, and I am proud of the work we carried out.

We supported agriculture. This summer, USDA convened the White House Rural Council to help America’s farmers and ranchers overcome drought. We provided unique flexibility for crop insurance that saved producers more than $20 million, expanded emergency lending for producers, opened more than 2.8 million acres of conservation land for emergency forage and more. Read more »

New York USDA Staff Steps Forward to Help Hurricane Sandy Victims

It will take months for New York to recover from the impact of Hurricane Sandy. (photo credit: W.M. Shelley).

It will take months for New York to recover from the impact of Hurricane Sandy. (photo credit: W.M. Shelley).

When the state first heard the news about a storm possibly hitting the East Coast, many people in New York did not know what to expect. Would it make landfall before New York? Would it take a turn and dissipate over the Atlantic Ocean? Forecasters had predicted that the storm would deliver “severe winds, rain and even the potential of life-threatening flooding throughout the Eastern seaboard.” As New York City began widespread evacuations and shuttered the City’s transit system, the state collectively held its breath. Read more »

In New Jersey, Neighbors Helping Neighbors Recover from Hurricane Sandy

U.S. Forest Service employee Jordon Sanders from Harlan, IA., waits for military aircraft to drop off more supplies in response to Hurricane Sandy at the Republic Airport in Farmingdale, NY, on Thursday, Nov 1, 2012. USDA photo by Dave Kosling.

U.S. Forest Service employee Jordon Sanders from Harlan, IA., waits for military aircraft to drop off more supplies in response to Hurricane Sandy at the Republic Airport in Farmingdale, NY, on Thursday, Nov 1, 2012. USDA photo by Dave Kosling.

When Hurricane Sandy was forecast to hit the east coast a little more than two weeks ago, no one would have imagined all the devastation and destruction the storm would leave behind.  In days leading up to the mandatory evacuation of our coastal areas, many residents wondered if this would be a false alarm similar to last years’ evacuation, when Hurricane Irene came barreling through many of our towns.  Although Irene caused considerable power outages, flooding and wind damage up and down the Garden State, nothing can compare to Sandy. Read more »

US Forest Service Provides Support for Hurricane Sandy Clean-up Efforts in New York City

U.S. Forest Service staff loads relief supplies for New Yorkers affected by Hurricane Sandy.

U.S. Forest Service staff loads relief supplies for New Yorkers affected by Hurricane Sandy.

At the height of the hurricane response effort, approximately 1,200 interagency firefighters organized by the U.S. Forest Service were sent to the impacted areas to provide assistance to communities in need. There are many incredible stories to tell of their work, with one fine example coming from a team dispatched from Portland, Ore. Read more »

Collaboration Key to Aiding Hurricane Sandy Victims

Tough times and dire circumstances have a longstanding history of bringing America’s communities and organizations together.  The recent storms that descended on much of the nation’s Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions have underscored these important partnerships.

For many of the stricken areas, including the urban centers in the Northeast, natural disasters of this scale are relatively rare.  And households containing the very young, elderly and those with special needs are of particular concern to USDA and our many partners engaged in these emergencies.

To aid those in Hurricane Sandy’s crosshairs, USDA swiftly coordinated with FEMA, States, and partner organizations to provide disaster nutrition assistance in 13 states.  By issuing automatic, mass replacement of SNAP benefits to certain households hit by the storm – for instance – SNAP individuals and families currently participating in SNAP will be able to replace their food purchased with SNAP benefits that spoiled due to flooding and power outages.  In the severely affected areas of New Jersey and New York SNAP recipients will be granted a waiver to purchase hot foods with their benefits.  In addition, USDA has worked with retailer trade associations to ensure SNAP authorized stores are aware of this waiver and eligibility for the purchase of hot foods through the month of November.  Meanwhile, several other States have been granted extensions to report loss of food purchased with their SNAP benefits and to request replacement benefits. Read more »

Fourth Grader Donates to Waldo Canyon Fire Restoration Effort

Eric Zanotto, Pikes Peak Fire Management Officer (Left) Allan Hahn Pikes Peak District Ranger (front center) Fourth Grader Evan Gassiot (center) Jeff Hovermale, Lands and Minerals staff (Right)  at Pikes Peak Ranger District in Colorado

Eric Zanotto, Pikes Peak Fire Management Officer (Left) Allan Hahn Pikes Peak District Ranger (front center) Fourth Grader Evan Gassiot (center) Jeff Hovermale, Lands and Minerals staff (Right) at Pikes Peak Ranger District in Colorado

As elementary school students, most kids are thinking about doing well in class, finishing their homework, participating in after school activities, playing video games and receiving presents.

However, fourth grader Evan Gassiot decided not to receive birthday gifts this year. Read more »