May 13: All Extension offices are responding to the needs of flood victims in the affected counties. Extension faculty are fully engaged in helping thier communities respond. News releases, radio and TV spots and disaster centers are being provided with information about safety and clean-up. Extension Faculty in other parts of the state are on stand-by to provide additional assistance when needed.
David Baker, Assistant Dean of Agriculture Extension, at the University of MO., serves on the USDA State Emergency Board. The board has met two times since the flooding began. The board worked with local USDA County Emergency Boards in the affected counties to develop farmer input sessions. The Governor had the director of MO Dept of Ag, Dr. John Hagler, conduct 4 fact finder meetings to find out the concerns of the Bootheel ag community, in Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot and Butler Counties. He also had all state agencies do some flood recovery meetings (fair like format), Exxtension participated. Since we had no money, we had to hard sell the information that we had for folks. The Red Cross loves our “Resources for Your Flooded Home”. They ordered many copies and reproduced more. We also had the water well, rodent and snake publications, along with the Better Living handbook produced in 2009.
The ag meetings had about 300 total attendance at the 4 sites. The flood recovery meetings had over 600 total attendance at 5 locations. USDA partners participated at all the meetings.
There was a contractor fraud prevention workshops last week. Here are a few points of importance.
1)There were 6 sessions with approximately 100 people in total attendance from the affected communities.
2)A follow-up class will be conducted next week at the St. Louis County Library-Bridgeton location on the components that go into putting a new roof on (so that those affected know the kind of work (materials, labor, etc.) to expect when the contractor is at their home).
3)KFVS, KTVI (Fox2Now), KMOX, and the Suburban Journal picked up stories in the event.
4)An Extension Specialist served as a panelist during the session held Monday – Wednesday. Thursday she was the facilitator and main presenter.
5)Extension also had a resource table at each event with information on chainsaw safety, storm damage trees, tips for hiring a contractor, assessing your roof for damage, repairing your roof after a tornado, salvaging food after a tornado, dealing with stress after a disaster, area disaster resource numbers, flood resources (if needed).
6)There were at least 12 organizations that partnered to host the workshops.
May 19: Extension faculty identified resource topics that will be needed in the upcoming weeks and months. Networking with state agencies and local publics to assist wth followup on local needs is a high priority. It is also important to work with populations indirectly impacted by flood--there was significant water damage from storms, areas that were under water because high river stage would not allow for drainage, and hill ground suffered erosion and stayed wet because of the same events.