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 »
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 »
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 »
Hurricane Sandy could bring wind, flooding, heavy rain and possibly snow to the East Coast, and the Food Safety and Inspection Service urges people to take steps now to ensure they have access to safe food. Power outages and flooding that often result from weather emergencies compromise the safety of stored food, and planning ahead can minimize the risk of foodborne illness.
The publication “A Consumer’s Guide to Food Safety: Severe Storms and Hurricanes” can be downloaded and printed for reference during a power outage. FSIS’ YouTube video “Food Safety During Power Outages” also has instructions for keeping frozen and refrigerated food safe. Read more »