Commentary: Helping communities impacted by disaster

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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.

Over the past year, USDA has helped respond to many disasters – ranging from severe wildfire and drought, to tornadoes and flooding. In the wake of any disaster, we know how important it is to get the job done. We know that folks are counting on us.

Today, USDA is focused on working with our federal partners to support an effective, efficient and well-coordinated response to disaster. Meanwhile, our thoughts and prayers are with Americans who have been impacted by Sandy, along with those who have been affected by other disasters over the course of the year.



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