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Ready to Respond: SBA Gears Up for Hurricane Irene Recovery Efforts

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Ready to Respond: SBA Gears Up for Hurricane Irene Recovery Efforts

By Karen Mills, Former SBA Administrator
Published: August 26, 2011 Updated: August 26, 2011

Today South Carolina has already seen the effects of Hurricane Irene, with heavy rains and winds soaking the coastal areas.  As evacuations begin and the hurricane makes its way up the East Coast, the U.S. Small Business Administration is standing ready,  prepared to respond to the long-term recovery needs of homeowners, renters and businesses across the region. 

The SBA has a team from our Office of Disaster Assistance in Puerto Rico, assessing the damage caused by Hurricane Irene.  In addition to the 900 employees already on board, we have 500 reservists ready to be deployed immediately.  Meanwhile, our team is already on the ground working with our partner FEMA in their Regional Communications Centers.

Our primary concern right now is for the safety of the millions living in the path of this dangerous storm. You’ve probably seen and heard lots of messages about preparing before the storm hits.  Here are a few last-minute reminders:

  • Take seriously the evacuation orders issued by local officials.  If they say evacuate, please follow and leave immediately.

  • Extensive power outages are predicted.  There’s still time to assemble an emergency supply kit, which includes items like non-perishable food, water, cash, a battery-powered radio, flashlights and batteries. 

  • Visit for tips on creating a plan to protect your family before the storm hits.

  • Business owners can visit for useful tips on how to reopen quickly and lessen the economic blow of the disaster. The Department of Labor has information on how to take care of your employees when an emergency strikes. Visit

  • After the storm passes and if you’re in need of shelter or other resources, visit the Red Cross at   You can also donate to the recovery efforts at the Red Cross site.

  • For information on SBA’s disaster assistance programs, visit, or call the Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955.

The SBA, along with our federal partners, will be there for the long haul to support the residents and business owners who are preparing to weather the storm.

About the Author:

Karen Mills

Former SBA Administrator

Karen Gordon Mills is the Former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA helps both Main Street and high-growth small businesses get access to capital, counseling, federal contracts, disaster assistance and more.


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Irene is gone but the people don't have where to sleep.
I hope all goes well for those affected by Irene. I will be praying for all those along the coast.

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