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With EDA Assistance, Communities Have a New, Resource-Rich Tool to Help Them Recover from Disasters

Guest blog post by Matt Erskine, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

To coincide with National Preparedness Month, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) has just launched the newly redesigned website.

Developed with funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), the website is a one-stop resource for economic development organizations and chambers of commerce seeking to assist businesses after a disaster, rebuild their local economy, and encourage resiliency among local businesses and government.

Since it was first established, EDA has played an important role in helping communities across the country recover from disasters by assisting them in reestablishing their local economies and implementing long-term economic recovery efforts. Earlier this year, EDA announced the availability of $200 million to help communities that received a major disaster designation in fiscal year 2011 with long-term economic recovery and infrastructure support.  Within the context of the administration’s National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF), EDA serves as the Coordinating Agency on behalf of the Department of Commerce for the Economic Recovery Support Function (RSF) to coordinate the activities of a diverse group of partner agencies supporting recovery in disaster-impacted communities. The activities consist primarily of improved information sharing and leveraging existing resources to make a positive impact for communities affected by disasters.

IEDC has national reach and the local connections—to economic development officials, chambers of commerce, and community leaders—that instantly enhance the effectiveness of community disaster mitigation efforts. This new website is an excellent example of how EDA and IEDC are working together to help disaster-impacted communities.

Importantly, the website features the 2012 Disaster Preparedness and Economic Recovery Webinar Series. Each free webinar features communities that have turned their local economies around, rebuilt, and emerged stronger and better prepared for future disasters. 

The topic of the next webinar, scheduled for October 24, will be “Initiatives to Protect Community Assets from Disaster”; a previous webinar, “Financing Tools for Retention of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses after a Disaster,” was held September 19 and is available for download from the site.

In addition, the new website features:

  • a new appearance, with enhanced functionality and improved navigation;
  • videos featuring interviews of economic recovery practitioners as well as recordings of training sessions;
  • preparedness advice on action steps to take in advance of a disaster to become more resilient;
  • recovery suggestions on how to deliver financial and technical assistance to impacted businesses, develop an economic recovery plan, and navigate federal assistance programs;
  • resources, including publications with practical advice, news articles, links to valuable websites, and free training resources;
  • case studies, featuring communities that have turned their local economies around and emerged strong and better prepared; and
  • a “Suggest a Resource” option for submitting ideas for the site.

I encourage you to take a look at this content-rich site today and bookmark it for future use.

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