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Spotlight: As One-Year Anniversaries Are Marked, EDA Assists Hurricane Impacted Communities with Disaster Recovery

This month, we mark the one-year anniversary of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria that devastated parts of Texas, the Southeast U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Over the past year, EDA’s regional offices have been working closely with Economic Development Districts (EDDs), federal, state and local officials and other partners in areas impacted by the hurricanes to assist with economic recovery and growth. Supporting local efforts to boost businesses is a major priority for EDA, and we are proud to assist our nation in building back better and stronger.

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Responders working to hold back flooding with sandbags

As the coordinator of the Economic Recovery Support Function (ERSF) under the National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF), EDA deployed to four hurricane-impacted locations simultaneously. EDA sent staff to Florida, Texas, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to work hand-in-hand with other federal agencies and state/territory governments to help local communities stabilize their economies, create new economic opportunities, and increase their resilience to future disasters.

In addition to the planning and technical assistance that EDA and its federal partners provide through the ERSF process, EDA disaster funding is also available to support a wide range of recovery and resiliency activities, including infrastructure repairs, small business financing assistance and accelerating innovation and entrepreneurship in affected disaster areas to diversify and strengthen local economies. In addition, EDA supports the development of disaster resiliency planning so communities can be better prepared for hurricane seasons and other natural disasters in the future.

EDA has a long history of supporting local disaster recovery and resiliency activities in the wake of natural disasters. This is why, under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (PL 115-123) (PDF), Congress appropriated $600 million to EDA for disaster relief and recovery as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, wildfires and other calendar year 2017 natural disasters under the Stafford Act. Projects are already underway, and impacted communities can find the Notice of Funding Opportunity for these disaster recovery funds at https://www.eda.gov/programs/disaster-recovery/2018-supplemental/.

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National Preparedness Month 2018 Logo

As we mark the one-year anniversary of the 2017 disasters and continue recovery efforts in impacted communities, EDA is ready for the current hurricane season, beginning with Hurricane Florence. To learn more about how EDA supports local efforts to recover and become more resilient following natural disasters, and for relevant tools and resources, please visit EDA’s disaster recovery page.

Additionally, National Preparedness Month (NPM), sponsored by FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is recognized every September and provides an opportunity to remind all Americans that we must prepare ourselves now and throughout the year for natural disasters. This NPM will focus on planning, with the overarching theme: “Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.”

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