Community Foundation Gears Up To Help Those Who Still Need Help After Irene

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(Host) Fundraising efforts have raised millions to help Vermonters recover from Tropical Storm Irene. But organizers say there’s still a lot to be done to assess what the need is for the funds.

David Coates chairs the Vermont Long Term Disaster Recovery Group.

Speaking Monday at the Vermont Community Foundation annual meeting in Randolph Center, Coates said the group is now gearing up to find and help the individuals who need it.

(Coates) "The biggest challenge is the fact that we need people on the ground. We need the boots on the ground and we need case workers. There is a commitment now to put an additional eight out there which will give us about 15 which means we can probably handle anywhere from three to four hundred cases."

(Host) Coates estimated as many as a thousand people could end up applying for the money raised by his group.

Similarly the state is still trying to get a handle on how much flood damage there was to farms.

Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross says there’s a big question mark hanging over the winter feed farmers have put up – and whether it’s been damaged by the flood.

(Ross) "Farmers have put hundreds of thousands of dollars of feed in silos. But that feed in many cases is either co-mingled or straight flooded feed. And we don’t know what’s going to come out of that silo yet. Some of it may be just fine, some of it may be not fine at all. And if that’s the case, the magnitude of the damage that farmers have been confronted with is going to grow significantly."

(Host) Ross says more than 450 farms were damaged by Irene. The most significant cases involved farms which lost land to the floodwaters.

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