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 »
US Forest Service wildland firefighters and interagency crews mobilized to assist with Hurricane Sandy response. Rachel Smith ESF4 Lead at FEMA Region 1 Regional Response Coordination Center Maynard, Mass., on Oct. 30, 2012. US Forest Service photo/Rachael Smith.
When Hurricane Sandy arrived in New Jersey and New York, so did the Forest Service and other interagency wildland firefighting specialists filling orders from FEMA and assisting in the massive clean-up effort that is critically needed on the East Coast.
“Our Incident Management Teams bring skills in organization, planning and logistics to meet the needs of communities tragically affected by Hurricane Sandy,” said Tidwell. “Crews are clearing downed trees, providing support to local emergency response agencies and assisting at FEMA facilities.” Read more »
This year, many Americans have been impacted by a wide range of natural disasters. Many have seen their homes perish or their livelihoods turned upside down – sometimes overnight. Tragically, some have lost their lives.
Many Americans don’t know it, but USDA often plays a key role in disaster assistance and recovery. We take this responsibility seriously. Today, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, we’re working to help.
More than 250 U.S. Forest Service personnel have been sent to affected states, to assist in disaster response. USDA staff members are helping rural electric and water utility companies assess outages and damage. We are working with impacted States to assess the need for emergency food assistance. And we are in constant contact with FEMA, additional Federal agencies, and State and local governments to ensure a coordinated response. Read more »
Deputy Thomas Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs at the Economic Development Administration (left); Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar (right), and Colleen Callahan of USDA prepare for the morning session at the drought conference. USDA photo.
Over 100 attendees joined Thomas Guevara, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs at the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration and Colorado Agricultural Commissioner John Salazar at the second of four regional workshops to outline resources available to assist with drought recovery efforts. The Colorado regional workshop was held at the state fairgrounds in Pueblo earlier this week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is partnering with tribes, local, state and federal partners to hold the workshops. Federal partners include the Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
With over two-thirds of the country in drought, recovery efforts are underway and a new framework for delivery is being developed. Collaboration, coordination and communication were the prevalent themes at the Colorado workshop. These efforts will be needed at all levels of government and our ability to work together is crucial. Read more »
These past months have brought tough times for folks across the nation. Unusual weather patterns – too much water in some places, not enough elsewhere – have driven thousands of Americans from their homes, and threatened their livelihoods.
Other families have seen their lives turned upside down by tornados or threatened by historic wildfires.
In these difficult times, my heart goes out to all of those who have been touched by these disasters. And I want folks to know that at USDA – and across the federal government – we are we are doing our best to serve all those who have been affected. Read more »
The state of Mississippi, recently hit with back-to-back disasters in the forms of record-intensity tornadoes in the eastern portion of the state and devastating floods in the Mississippi River Delta, was visited by two USDA under secretaries on Thursday.
USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager and USDA Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse spent much of Thursday in Mississippi as part of an intense whirlwind tour of flood-damaged areas of Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana and tornado damaged areas of Alabama. This tour follows visits last week by President Barack Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to the tornado affected areas of Mississippi and Alabama. Read more »