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September 2018

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

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Responders working to hold back flooding with sandbags

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.

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.

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Success Story: EDA Investments in Disaster Recovery and Resiliency Programs for Regions Impacted by Hurricane Harvey

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EDA Economic Recovery Workshop

Hurricane Harvey hit southeast Texas as a Category 4 storm on August 25, 2017. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has stated that Harvey was “the most significant tropical cyclone rainfall event” in U.S. history with up to 48-60 inches of rain over five days. 300,000 structures were flooded, the storm surge crested at over seven feet, and winds in excess of 130 mph caused significant damage. Current estimates place the total damage from Hurricane Harvey at $125 billion, making it one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history. The Presidential Disaster Declaration included 41 counties for individual assistance and 53 counties for public assistance.

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Highlight: One Year After Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Long-Term Recovery Planning Activity Boosts Puerto Rico’s Economic Development

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Debris in the wake of a hurricane

One year after Hurricanes Irma and Maria ripped through Puerto Rico, much is still being done to rebuild and revitalize the communities that suffered from the storms. With more resources and unwavering commitment to helping rebuild after these natural disasters, hope and success are on the horizon.

EDA has contributed by making several recent FY18 Disaster Supplemental investments in Puerto Rico to support technical assistance, entrepreneurial programs, manufacturing, tourism, and research and development. Examples include:

  • On July 5, the Puerto Rico Trade and Export Company received a $1.6 million EDA grant to establish an entrepreneurial program that will deliver technical assistance and support through centers located in San Juan, Ponce, and Mayagüez, further helping these communities recover after last year’s devastating hurricane season. According to grantee estimates, the project is expected to help create 30 new businesses and 90 new jobs. Through this investment, entrepreneurs and existing small and medium-sized businesses will be provided with co-working space, access to shared services, business training and technical assistance, as well as support in the development and commercialization of new products and services.

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Reminder: Fiscal Year 2018 Disaster Supplemental Funding Still Available

EDA has available $587 million for disaster recovery grants in communities experiencing economic distress or other economic harm resulting from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and wildfires and other federally declared natural disasters occurring in calendar year 2017. Please visit EDA’s Disaster Supplemental Funding page for more.


Success Stories

Read some EDA’s disaster-related success stories.


Madelia, MN and the Region Nine Development Commission Disaster Recovery and Resilience Planning Strategy

On February 3, 2016, a fire swept through Madelia, Minnesota’s Main Street in the middle of a snowstorm, destroying nine businesses. Recovery in the city continues, and with more than $250,000 in local support, all eight buildings destroyed have been rebuilt. In responding to this economic shock, this small city of 2,239 people serves as an example to places large and small about what it means to be a resilient community.


Hurricane Harvey Economic Recovery Workshops

To increase local understanding of how diverse federal and state assistance programs could help solve economic recovery problems, EDA and the Economic RSF partnered with all eight Harvey-impacted Councils of Governments to host long-term economic recovery workshops. Learn more in the report (PDF).


EDA in the News!

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Port Lavaca harbor gets $1.2 million grant
Victoria Advocate (8/29/2018)

SWFRPC awarded grant to promote agricultural products
Glades County Democrat (8/29/2018)

Flood Damage List: City street projects submitted to state
The Daily Mining Gazette (8/27/2018)

Harris County Flood Control District eyes large deep diameter tunnels for regional flood mitigation
Community Impact Newspaper (8/23/2018)

Organization gets $1 million grant to aid Gulfport, region
Mississippi Today (8/21/2018)

Preparedness workshops help St. Johns County businesses get ready for hurricane season
staugustine.com (8/20/2018)

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