Only a few weeks ago, an EF5 tornado ripped through Oklahoma. The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season just began, and forecasts predict that it will be a very active season. Whenever events like these may occur, the Department of Commerce is ready to help communities across the country prepare for and recover from natural disasters.
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is one of the Commerce bureaus that assist in disaster-recovery efforts. Just last month, EDA announced grants totaling $54.1 million for disaster relief to 15 communities in 12 states and territories. For example, EDA announced a $20 million investment that will help redevelop the 20th Street corridor in Joplin, Missouri, where a devastating tornado in May 2011 claimed 161 lives, flattened large sections of the city, and destroyed more than 7,000 housing units.
Some other recently announced recovery projects include:
- rebuilding a flood-damaged railroad bridge across the Judith River in Montana that provides the sole freight link for numerous farming communities;
- providing communities in New England that were devastated by Tropical Strom Irene with the means to provide technical assistance to small businesses and local governments; and
- rebuilding public infrastructure in downtown Minot, North Dakota, an area that was destroyed by flooding of the Mouse River.
These projects are part of a $200 million appropriation made by Congress to EDA to help with long-term economic recovery and infrastructure support in communities that received a major disaster designation in fiscal year 2011.