Tornado damage at the National Finance Center (NFC) Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017 in New Orleans, LA. USDA photo by Mike Clanton.
Within minutes of being notified of an impending storm, the employees of the US Department of Agriculture’s National Finance Center (NFC) in New Orleans felt the devastating impact of the EF-3 tornado that descend upon the two-story building with enough force to tear away whole sections of the brick façade in eight places and leave portions of its interior exposed to the elements.
“I could see it coming,” said Tara Gilliam, chief of Human Resources Management Staff. “It swallowed the building in a matter of seconds.” Read more »
David Smith of Smith Farms in Missouri received disaster assistance from the Farm Service Agency after a tornado destroyed three of his grain bins. The 2014 Farm Bill reinstated the disaster programs that help producers recover from natural disasters.
This post is part of a disaster assistance program feature series on the USDA blog. Check back every Wednesday as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s Farm Service Agency.
When a tornado touched down in the rural southeast Missouri town of Puxico it sent some ranchers into survival mode. David Smith, owner of Smith Farms was one of them.
“It was a tough setback, financially,” said Smith.
The tornado destroyed three grain bins and damaged two others, causing a loss of about 3,400 bushels of wheat and 4,000 bushels of corn used as feed for over 1,500 cattle. Within minutes Smith saw thousands of dollars blow away, along with fences, a hay barn, outbuildings and feeding equipment. Read more »
With landmarks missing it was difficult for even Gifford residents to locate once familiar locations.
Four months after a tornado ripped through the town of Gifford, Illinois, destroying its water tower, 70 homes, and damaging 40 others, visible and emotional aftereffects remain.
On November 17, the day the tornado touched down, I called my colleague and Gifford resident Molly Hammond, who wistfully noted during our conversation, that “Everyone is all right. But not everything is all right!”
No doubt her sentiments reflected those of Gifford’s other 1,000 residents. Read more »
Those impacted by the Moore tornadoes continue to be reunited with their animals. All Photos are Courtesy of the ODAFF.
“His name is Zeke,” read the Facebook posting after the May tornado that devastated Moore, Okla. “He’s a male boxer, almost 6 months old. Wearing green collar. Last seen near NW 63rd and Portland. He is fawn, black mask with white marking on face, chest and paws. We miss him very much. Please return.”
There are a lot fewer missing or homeless “Zekes” today due to the efforts of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF) and partners who are working to reunite lost pets with their heart-stricken owners. Read more »
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.
Read more »
Following a disaster, those affected should be aware of these safety tips:
Anyone with questions about the safety of their food as a result of weather damage and power outages is encouraged to call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline (888-MPHotline), available in English and Spanish from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. CDT.
Ask Karen, FSIS’ virtual food safety representative who has the answers to nearly 1,500 food safety questions, is available 24/7 from your smartphone at m.AskKaren.gov, also in English and Spanish. Ask Karen can be downloaded for free for iOS and Android devices. Read more »