Tag Archives: Disaster

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and David Perdue, R-Ga., today joined Senate colleagues, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in expressing disappointment in Congress’ failure to deliver critical disaster aid to their states to assist in recovery efforts from natural disasters in 2018 and 2019. It has been six months since Georgia and Florida took a direct hit from Hurricane Michael.

The senators have worked to negotiate in good faith since 2018 on a bipartisan disaster relief package to provide funding across the continental United States as well as Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands for regions that have experienced droughts, flooding, hurricanes, storms, volcanoes, wildfires and other natural disasters. Many of these states, including Georgia, have not received the federal disaster assistance they were promised months ago. Other states would see a down payment on disasters that have occurred more recently, such as in the Midwest where flooding is ongoing, and in Alabama and Georgia where tornadoes devastated lives and communities earlier this year.

Historically, the federal government has stepped in to help victims recovering from natural disasters, and the same action is overdue and badly needed for these affected states. Despite months of negotiations, efforts to advance funding have stalled over partisan disagreements.


“This lack of funding has put Georgia farmers at the breaking point. It is a shame that politics has again gotten in the way of aid for the people of our states who are in desperate need and for farmers who put food on our tables,” said Isakson. “I am extremely disappointed that Congress will be leaving for a two-week state work period without a resolution and much-needed funding on the way for our states, which have already been pressed to cover disaster recovery expenses beyond what they can afford. We’ve asked Democrats to help the residents of our states. This is a disaster bill, and it’s not about politics, it’s about getting all Americans the help they need. I’m eager to work to get it done so farmers can get loans and get back to work.” 


“Democrats ought to be ashamed of themselves for holding hostage farmers in the Southeast, fire victims in California, earthquake victims in Alaska, and flood victims in the upper Midwest,” said Perdue. “This is yet another example of Democrat obstructionism. Last weekend, Senate Republican appropriators made another fair offer, but Democrats outright rejected it. President Trump and Senate Republicans have been more than reasonable in dealing with Democrats’ requests throughout this process. Previous disaster relief packages were not held up like this. Farmers in Georgia and across the country are missing planting season right now because Democrats have been unwilling to negotiate. Time is of the essence, and we must get this disaster relief done immediately, so those who have lost everything can rest assured that help is on the way.”


“Families across the country are still reeling from devastating natural disasters. It is beyond unfortunate that Democrats in Congress continue to block additional relief,” said McConnell. “The Senate has had ample opportunity to approve an aid package to help affected communities all across the country — from the Southeast to the Midwest to the West Coast to Puerto Rico. But Democrats preferred to pick a political fight with President Trump instead. A number of my colleagues, particularly Senators Isakson, Perdue, Ernst, Rubio, Scott, Sullivan, and Tillis, have been stalwart champions for their states despite the partisan obstruction. We won’t stop working until we get this job done.”


“Historic flooding has devastated farms, destroyed homes, and damaged vital infrastructure systems in Missouri,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. “I’m disappointed Senate Democrats have stood in the way of getting much-needed resources to flood impacted areas. We need to get this aid package to the president’s desk. With damage assessments still ongoing, we must also be ready to move forward on any additional assistance that will be needed to help communities recover.”


“I am deeply disappointed that Senate Democrats are choosing to prevent us from passing much-needed disaster relief,” said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. “It has been six months since Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas, inflicting catastrophic damage and flooding. Too many families are still waiting on help to rebuild their homes, small businesses are working overtime to meet another tourist season, and our military bases are in desperate need of repairs to maintain readiness. These delay tactics have to end, and the Senate must take up the disaster relief bill immediately upon its return.”


“Nebraskans are suffering after being hit by blizzards and severe flooding. It’s extremely upsetting that Senate Democrats are holding Nebraska’s relief funds hostage over their demand for additional resources for Puerto Rico, which already has received $41 billion in approved funds,” said Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb. “People in my state are traumatized, and we need to get a funding bill that includes Nebraska passed now. I remain committed to working with my colleagues on both sides to do so.”


“Iowa farmers are under water, literally and financially, due to the floods that have ravaged portions of the state,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. “It is the responsibility of Congress to step up during times of crisis and help out our fellow Americans. But rather than come to the aid of disaster victims in Iowa and throughout the country, congressional Democrats are playing politics. Iowans who need help to put their lives back together will certainly remember this as the same Democrat senators who voted ‘no’ ask for their vote in 2020.”


“Although more will be needed in the future, this package would have expedited critical aid for Missourians whose homes, crops, and livestock have been destroyed by catastrophic flooding,” said Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. “It’s shameful that Democrats would hold hostage aid to farmers and ranchers in order to settle political scores. This is Washington at its worst.”


“After the 7.1 earthquake shook Alaska and thousands of aftershocks continued to shake Alaskans, our constituents came together to support their neighbors, strangers and each other – just as Americans in other states and territories have pulled together in the face of hurricanes, flooding, and wildfires. They didn’t take a break or look to leverage each other. They just worked together to respond,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. “I am disappointed we can’t follow their example and are instead looking to adjourn rather than rolling up our sleeves and compromising to get this disaster supplemental bill done for our fellow Americans.”


“Playing politics with disaster funding may score Senate Democrats points with their far-left base for ‘resisting’ the president, but it comes at the expense of real people and communities in Florida,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. “It’s been six months since Hurricane Michael struck Florida’s Panhandle, and we’re up against a very real deadline to deliver much-needed resources. Inaction and obstruction are inexcusable, and I’m ready to work with any of my Democratic colleagues who are willing to set politics aside to do their jobs.”


“The political hackery from Senate Democrats is dumb and it needs to end now,” said Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. “We’re still recovering from the biggest natural disaster in our state’s history. Nebraskans rolled up their sleeves and went to work, but Congress is playing typical partisan politics. This is shameful.”


“It’s frustrating that it has taken so long to secure this critical disaster relief for communities as they try to rebuild,” said Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. “Families in the Florida panhandle and in Puerto Rico are suffering, and Congress needs to act. I’m working with Republicans and Democrats to get this done. We can’t wait any longer.”


“Alaskans are a tough, resilient, and caring people,” said Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska. “Within hours of the last November’s earthquake, the response of our local Emergency Response personnel, Alaska Department of Transportation and countless others that were out inspecting and repairing infrastructure within hours was phenomenal. However, there’s still much rebuilding that needs to be done to make Alaskans whole, and it’s unfortunate that a bipartisan relief package could not be reached this week – which would have provided much needed disaster funding to states like Alaska that seek to further that rebuilding process in the aftermath of a major natural disaster.”


“Since before Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina, I’ve been working with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to secure federal relief to help our communities recover from the historic flooding damage,” said Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C. “While we were successful in providing an initial down payment for North Carolina, many families, farmers, and our military communities still need more federal assistance and time is of the essence. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer needs to stop the partisan political posturing so we can reach a deal. North Carolinians have already waited long enough for the federal resources they need to recover and rebuild.”


Isakson and Perdue personally visited parts of Georgia devastated by Hurricane Michael in October with Vice President Mike Pence and pushed for immediate federal funding. After funding was not obtained by the end of 2018, Isakson and Perdue twice introduced disaster relief amendments to legislative vehicles under consideration by the Senate. Isakson and Perdue then introduced a $13.6 billion disaster relief package with the backing of President Donald Trump after prior funding attempts were removed from other supplemental spending packages. Isakson and Perdue have repeatedly gone down to the Senate floor to impress upon their colleagues the urgent need for disaster aid funding.

On April 1, the Senate took votes on two amendments that would have provided funding for Georgia and other disasters, and both pieces of legislation failed to receive the necessary 60 votes to move forward.


  • On Nov. 30, 2018, Isakson and Perdue sent two letters requesting additional funding for disaster assistance for Georgians recovering after Hurricane Michael: the first letter to Senate appropriators and the second to Senate leadership.
  • On Jan. 31, Isakson and Perdue introduced a supplemental agriculture disaster relief amendment to provide critical funding for Georgia and other states recovering from recent hurricane and wildfire damage.
  • On Feb. 13, Isakson and Perdue joined 11 other bipartisan senators in sending a letter to House and Senate leadership urging immediate action on a supplemental disaster relief package.
  • On Feb. 26, Isakson and Perdue joined Doug Jones, D-Ala., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Rick Scott, R-Fla., Tim Scott, R-S.C., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., to introduce a $13.6 billion disaster relief package with the backing of President Trump after prior funding attempts were removed from other supplemental spending packages.

LINCOLN, Neb. – With recent storms and significant flooding impacting much of the state, Nebraska Corn is thankful for the outpouring of support at the local and national levels and said there are still opportunities for farmers to help in relief efforts.

During their next visit to their local grain elevators, farmers can donate proceeds from their grain sales to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund or the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation. At the farmers’ discretion, grain elevators across the state will be able to collect and disperse the donations to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation or the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation. Both of these disaster assistance programs are designed to help local farmers and ranchers by providing 100% of donations to those who need them the most.

“Farmers often help out neighbors in need,” said Dan Nerud, farmer from Dorchester and president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. “These relief programs are great ways to extend the generosity of our producers. Farmers can simply deliver grain to their local elevator and designate the entire load or a percentage of the load to relief efforts. Farmers will get a receipt for their contribution and 100% of the dollars from the sale of that grain will go to help their neighbors in need.”

Interested donors can also help rural farmers and ranchers by making direct donations to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation or the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation. Checks can be sent to the following addresses:

Make checks payable to: Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation

Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation
Attn: Disaster Relief Fund
P.O. Box 80299
Lincoln, NE 68501-0299
Make checks payable to: Nebraska Cattlemen Disaster Relief Fund

Nebraska Cattlemen Disaster Relief Fund
4611 Cattle Drive
Lincoln, NE 68521

“Recent storms and flood waters have been devastating, and it’s difficult to imagine what impacted farmers, ranchers and rural residents are going through,” said David Bruntz, farmer from Friend and chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Fortunately, those involved in agriculture help those who are down on their luck. It’s impossible to undo what has happened, but when we all come together, we can make the devastation easier for many Nebraska families. We appreciate everyone’s efforts and contributions in keeping #NebraskaStrong.”

Following the defeat of two bills to address 2018 and 2019 disasters on the Senate floor Monday evening, Democrats offered a new plan to address Puerto Rico while Republicans criticized their colleagues for blocking urgently needed aid to other parts of the country.

Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Tuesday introduced a substitute to the emergency disaster supplemental while the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee addressed the issue at a hearing on the rural economy.

Democrats want more aid for Puerto Rico than the Republicans have proposed. On Monday evening, neither a Republican proposal that contained $600 million in additional food stamp benefits for Puerto nor the House-passed bill that is more generous to Puerto Rico got the 60 votes needed to proceed.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans blamed Democrats for stopping both the aid to Puerto Rico that was in the Republican bill and aid to farmers.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said, “Senate Democrats yesterday blocked a bill that provides much-needed funds for Puerto Rico’s nutrition program, also aid for the 2018 hurricane and wildfires, and thirdly assistance to Midwest states in the midst of a flood crisis.”

“That includes at least Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, maybe other states,” Grassley said.

“Now, the people that voted against it say it was because they care about Puerto Rico. But the bill they blocked takes care of the urgent funding shortfalls there in that commonwealth,” he said.

“Playing politics with disaster aid does a disservice to the people of Puerto Rico and the people of states like Iowa that are suffering right now from these floods,” Grassley said. “Why would these senators want to come to campaign in Iowa when they don’t show sympathy for Iowans suffering from the floods with the vote that they cast last night?”

At a House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the rural economy Tuesday, Paxton Poitevint, the president and CEO of Southwest Georgia Farm Credit in Bainbridge, Georgia, said that while crop insurance, commodity programs and trade agreements are helping, the cotton and nut farmers whose crops were devastated by Hurricane Michael and timber growers in his area “need federal disaster assistance now.”

House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., said at the hearing, “To be honest, I did not think we’d still be sitting here in April without a disaster aid package signed into law.”

Bishop added that he is “extremely frustrated” and “hopeful it will happen soon.”

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., whose district has been devastated by floods, said that as bad as the agricultural losses are now, they “are going to mount.”

Iowa officials estimate about $214 million in agricultural losses and more than $1.6 billion in total disaster losses. Nebraska officials estimate agricultural losses could top $1 billion because of as much as $500 million in livestock losses and $400 million in crop losses, as well as prevented planting challenges this spring. Nebraska officials estimate another $450 million just in road damages. Missouri officials have not released any estimates, but parts of northwest Missouri and southwest Iowa remain underwater.

The Leahy/Schumer amendment totals $16.7 billion and includes $2.5 billion in new funding for disaster-stricken communities in the Southeast and Midwest and restores certain funding for Puerto Rico and other territories.

Leahy and Schumer said, “We cannot pick and choose which American citizens to help in times of crisis. Democrats are ready to stand with all American communities affected by recent natural disasters. We hope Republican leadership will stand with us in this effort.”

The amendment includes increased funding for Community Development Block Grants and grants to help rebuild damaged water systems in Puerto Rico. It also provides Medicaid funding for other territories and mandates that the Department of Housing and Urban Development speed up the release of billions in Community Development Block Grant funding the Trump administration has been withholding from disaster stricken communities.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., whose constituents suffered from wildfires and forest fires in 2018, voted against the Republican bill and said, “In California, the scale of last year’s destruction was unprecedented. Wildfires killed 85 people, destroyed nearly 14,000 homes and burned more than 150,000 acres, including the entire town of Paradise. Recovery efforts are already underway and additional funding is needed to prevent any delay.”

“Tragically, Californians aren’t the only Americans still trying to recover,” Feinstein said. “Victims of recent typhoons, volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes, including those that struck Puerto Rico two years ago, are also counting on Congress to approve this funding.

“Congress used to set politics aside after major disasters and help victims in their time of need. Partisan infighting won’t rebuild a single home or school. It’s time we pass an emergency supplemental bill that includes funding for all disaster victims.”

President Donald Trump has said he does not want to provide any aid to Puerto Rico beyond the money for food stamps. Trump called the leaders of Puerto “incompetent and corrupt” and made statements that are factually incorrect, The New York Times reported.

We have how much time to get out? No one wants to think about it, but spring flooding in the heartland and the prospect of summer storms remind us of the harsh toll that disasters can take.

Nebraska sustained more than $1 billion in estimated property, crop and livestock losses from flooding early this year. Other states also suffered significant losses. And that doesn’t count the emotional and physical toll.

We can’t control the weather affecting our homes, businesses and communities, but we can prepare ahead, which can make recovery after a catastrophe easier.

Kansas State University serves as a source for emergency preparedness education and disaster recovery resources through several K-State Research and Extension initiatives, including the Prepare Kansas blog, the annual Prepare Kansas online challenge in September and through its affiliation with the national Extension Disaster Education Network, or EDEN.

When disaster preparedness comes to mind, many of us think about having a grab-and-go kit at the ready, but thinking about financial readiness is also important.

“We will all likely experience a weather disaster or other emergency at some point,” said Elizabeth Kiss, extension financial management specialist and author of the Prepare Kansas blog, adding that your ability to respond and recover can go more smoothly if you:

  • Prepare for a disaster or other emergency by accumulating emergency savings. Small amounts add up over time and can make a big difference.
  • Understand and regularly review your insurance coverage. For example, flood damage is typically not covered by homeowner’s and renter’s policies yet only one inch of water can cause thousands of dollars of damage.
  • Collect and secure important documents. Start or update a household inventory.

Kiss and a team of extension colleagues created a factsheet: Get Financially Prepared: Take Steps Ahead of Disaster and noted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has good information on its Financial Preparedness page.

In support of their communities, many agents in county and district K-State Research and Extension offices across the state provide programs on emergency preparedness for individuals and families, plus farmers and ranchers. Some serve on their county’s emergency planning committees or in similar roles.

Andrea Burns, a K-State Research and Extension agriculture and natural resources agent in Ford County, said she believes it’s a natural fit for her to work with others locally to help keep the community as prepared for disasters as possible.

Burns serves on the Ford County Local Emergency Planning Committee, attends emergency-preparedness training and participated in a recent statewide exercise conducted by the Kansas Department of Agriculture. She is working with the LEPC staff and Ford County Fair Association to write an emergency plan for the Ford County Fair and to organize a “Hometown Heroes” event at the 2019 fair.

K-State’s affiliation with EDEN links it to a network of universities across the country that works to reduce the impact of disasters through research-based information. Made up of specialists in disciplines such as community development, food safety, financial management, youth development, engineering, crops, livestock and more, EDEN offers preparedness courses for extension educators and the public such as Ready Business, Family Preparedness and others. The network is a resource for extension educators across Kansas and the country.

Service climatologist and Kansas Weather Data Library manager Mary Knapp provides weekly Weather Wonders, which are short audio messages about weather and sometimes emergency preparedness, available online through the K-State Radio Network.

“At this time of the year, remember to review your emergency plans, including your emergency kit,” Knapp said. “Check that everyone in your household is familiar with the plan and prepared to take action if needed. Test your methods of receiving alerts – whether from your phone, a weather radio, or email – to make certain that everything is still working properly. A few minutes invested in preparations now can go a long way in the case of an emergency.”

The Kansas Weather Data Library on K-State’s Manhattan campus is a repository for Kansas weather and climate information and is home to Kansas Mesonet.

WASHINGTON– Low-income Nebraskans recovering from recent flooding could be eligible for food benefits through the Disaster SNAP (D-SNAP) program approved today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The department also approved the state’s request for temporary flexibility in meeting school lunch meal pattern requirements.

Households who may not normally be eligible under regular SNAP rules may qualify for D-SNAP, if they meet the disaster income limits and have qualifying disaster-related expenses.

“USDA is committed to helping Nebraskans get back on their feet in whatever capacity we can,” Food Nutrition and Consumer Services Acting Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps said. “The D-SNAP program is an important step forward to help flood impacted families get food on the table.”

D-SNAP eligible households in the affected areas will receive one month of benefits, equivalent to the maximum amount of benefits normally issued to a SNAP household of their size, to meet their food needs. To be eligible for D-SNAP, a household must live in an identified disaster area, have been affected by the disaster, and meet certain D-SNAP eligibility criteria. Nebraska will share information about D-SNAP operating dates and locations through the local media.

The timing of D-SNAP implementation varies with the unique circumstances of each disaster but always begins after commercial channels of food distribution have been restored and families are able to purchase and prepare food at home. Before operating a D-SNAP program, a state must ensure that proper public information, staffing and resources are in place.

The D-SNAP announcement today is part of USDA’s continuing efforts to help Nebraskans cope with the disaster. USDA is also allowing school lunch and breakfast meal pattern flexibility for schools in Nebraska through April 26.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) works to reduce food insecurity and promote nutritious diets among the American people. The agency administers 15nutrition assistance programs that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans with the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. For more information on FNS assistance during times of disaster, visit www.fns.usda.gov/disaster.

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kansas Farm Bureau’s Foundation for Agriculture has donated $10,000 to assist Nebraska farmers and ranchers recover from record flooding affecting the state. The money will go to Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Disaster Relief Fund. The fund will distribute 100 percent of its proceeds to Nebraska farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

“Our hearts go out to the individuals and families affected by the catastrophic flooding in Nebraska,” Rich Felts, president of Kansas Farm Bureau says. “Our foundation board voted unanimously to assist our neighbors in their recovery process. We feel privileged to play a small role in restoring the livelihoods of Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.”

(Video) ‘BOMB CYCLONE’; Damage and Looses from in Nebraska More than $1 Billion

A two-day “bomb cyclone” dumped snow and rain across frozen ground across the Plains in early March. Some Nebraska communities received nearly 18 inches of snow, while others recorded nearly four inches of rain. That moisture caused runoff that swelled rivers and streams to record levels.

Last week’s bomb cyclone continues to inundate parts of the Midwest with flood waters this week. Following the storm that hit Nebraska the hardest, the flood waters made their way downstream over the weekend to include, Iowa Kansas and Missouri. Multiple levees have been topped or breached, which has swamped farmland and small towns along the Missouri River.

Some areas broke record levels, including those set in the historic floods of 2011 and 1993. The Army Corps of Engineers has reduced water releases from the Gavins Point dam over the weekend, but much of the current problem stems from the saturated Platte River in Nebraska. Still, releases from Gavins Point have been above average since last June, stemming from a wet spring and fall last year. Nearly the entire lower Missouri River, along with the Mississippi River, are included in flood warnings.

Producers are urged to contact their local Farm Service Agency to find information on assistance programs. In addition, the Nebraska Farm Bureau has set up a relief fund and exchange. Details of the fund can be found at www.nefb.org.

LINCOLN, NEB. – The Nebraska Farm Bureau has launched relief efforts to aid Nebraska farmers, ranchers, and rural communities suffering from the natural disasters that have impacted the state. The relief efforts include the establishment of a disaster relief fund and launch of an online agriculture disaster exchange portal to connect those in need with those who can help.

“Nebraska is a special place with special people. Many of our friends and neighbors across the state are suffering. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost or are missing loved ones, and to all those who have been impacted by the recent blizzard and massive flooding events,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “We want to do what we can to help. We believe our relief fund and information exchange can be of assistance.”

Money donated to the Disaster Relief Fund will be targeted to aid Nebraska farmers, ranchers, and rural communities affected by recent storms and flooding. Priority will be given to efforts to restore health and safety in rural communities and to farm and ranch households that have been damaged or displaced by the natural disaster.

“The fund’s targeted recipients are farm and ranch families and rural communities in the disaster areas who have immediate needs as a result of the natural disaster, those who cannot get assistance from other sources, those who will have to wait until they receive other assistance, and those who have losses not covered by insurance,” said Nelson.

To aid farmers and ranchers in recovery, the Nebraska Farm Bureau has also opened the Agriculture Disaster Exchange portal. The online portal housed on the Nebraska Farm Bureau website allows members to share information, providing a place for those in need to make requests for assistance and for those looking to help, to offer it.

“The Agriculture Disaster Exchange operates like an online ‘want ad’ page. If a member has extra hay to sell or donate to a livestock producer in need, they can post it there. If a member needs help or equipment to remove debris after flooding, they can post that type of request as well. Those are just examples of how the exchange can be used by our members. The goal is to provide an online clearinghouse so members can interact and help each other during tough times,” said Nelson.

To donate or apply for aid from the Disaster Relief Fund, utilize the Agriculture Disaster Exchange portal, or access other disaster assistance resources, visit www.nefb.org/disaster.

Donations will be made to a fund established in the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit. Any donations made to the fund are tax-deductible.