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Cooperative Extension Service Aids in Hurricane Katrina Relief

WASHINGTON, September 1, 2005 – When residents of southern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama return to their homes – if they still have one – they will have to deal with more than just rebuilding. The Cooperative Extension Service (CES), in partnership with the USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES), is available to help by providing a range of practical information from what to do with indoor mold, how to purify water and counseling children affected by the disaster.

CSREES supports the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) which includes 48 states and several territories. Pat Skinner, the EDEN contact for Louisiana, has developed hurricane materials which are posted on the EDEN Web site at www.eden.lsu.edu.

EDEN's “Talking About Disaster:  Guide for Standard Messages,” available on the EDEN Web site, provides fact sheets on topics such as food and water safety, generators, talking to children about disasters, etc.

Once people are able to return to their homes, an extensive clean-up will be necessary. Mold will be a major issue for homes that are still standing. For mold and other related information, visit www.healthyindoorair.org. Again, EDEN stands ready to help with this effort and will remain in the affected communities as long as necessary.

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has developed “The Disaster Handbook” providing information about storm preparation and recovery and coping with disaster. The handbook is available online at http://disaster.ifas.ufl.edu/ .

Ned Browning, Mississippi State University (MSU) Agricultural Communications leader, said that the lower 20 counties have been evacuated, including the county extension offices and staff.  They are focusing on a recovery strategy.  Browning said they are in process of printing 5,000 copies of a 12-page set of recovery information to be delivered to emergency management sites.  The information is also available on their Web site at: http://msucares.com/disaster/index.html.

MSU sponsors a public radio station that broadcasts over the entire state. They have organized a group of extension specialists with various areas of recovery to provide information over the air.

The Louisiana State University AgCenter Web site offers information on insurance regulations and emergency financial assistance. Additional information is available on how to survive without electricity. Visit http://www.agctr.lsu.edu/en/family_home/hazards_and_threats/.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is providing producers information about crop disaster assistance and the outlook on crop losses. County extension offices are open across the state to help residents and farmers as the clean-up process begins. For more information, visit http://www.aces.edu/.