Vermont Recovers from Irene

BURLINGTON, Vt., Aug 23 – With the second anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene approaching, Vermont’s congressional delegation today recalled heroic relief measures in the flooding’s immediate aftermath and a remarkable  rebuilding effort undertaken in the two years since one of the worst natural disasters in Vermont history.

The Aug. 28, 2011, torrential storm killed six people in Vermont, forced thousands from their homes, washed away hundreds of homes and bridges and miles of roads.

“What we witnessed in the days after the disaster struck was Vermont at its best with an outpouring of help for storm victims from thousands or friends and neighbors, the Vermont National Guard and our state’s emergency responders,” said Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

“In the two years since one of the worst natural disasters in our history, we have continued to work with Gov. Shumlin and other state and local leaders to make certain that we receive all of the federal resources Vermont needs and deserves to recover and rebuild,” the delegation added in a joint statement.

By next week’s second anniversary of the storm, the federal government will have spent or pledged more than half a billion dollars for the state and for homeowners and businesses across Vermont.

Altogether, more than $565 million has been committed or is in the pipeline from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs, the Department of Labor, the Department of Agriculture and from Small Business Administration loans to homeowners and small businesses.

The congressional delegation pledged to continue working with local, state and federal officials to finish the massive rebuilding effort.