A group of farm-state Senators seeks additional assistance from federal agencies for rural areas to cope with COVID-19. 24 Senators penned a letter to the Department of Interior and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, along with the Department of Homeland Security earlier this week.
The letter requests “immediate assistance in mobilizing agencies to offer coordinated support for rural counties, municipalities, and tribal communities as they respond to the coronavirus.” The lawmakers say rural communities are working to set up local emergency operation centers to help manage their response, but face challenges with limited staff capacity. The letter states, “some communities are already overwhelmed with the challenge.”
Throughout rural America, the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture employ thousands of federal civil servants who have the relevant experience to assist with emergency response. With this expertise available, the lawmakers say, ”it is crucial that the Federal Emergency Management Agency provide the authorities necessary and work with both agencies to deliver effective, coordinated assistance to rural communities.”