With ongoing recovery efforts in the wake of Irene, how has the storm damaged the nation's crops? As part of the response to the disaster, this week U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack toured devastated areas to see exactly how farms fared through the storm.
This morning on American Morning, Ali Velshi talks with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on how farmers fared through the storm and whether they have the funds to make it through this disaster.
The water is finally receding this morning in Paterson, New Jersey where the Passaic River crested late last night after Hurricane Irene brought massive flooding to the area.
However, thousands of people are still in temporary housing after being evacuated from their flooded homes, including more than three thousand because who were forced out of their high-rise apartments.
Paterson's Mayor, Jeffery Jones, discusses the city's evacuations with Carol Costello today, explaining when people can expect to return to their homes.
As floodwaters surge in areas of several states hard-hit by Hurricane Irene, authorities are struggling to assess damage and rebuild roads and bridges in the aftermath of the storm.
Local recovery and response efforts come amid concerns over FEMA funding. The agency's disaster relief fund has less than $800 million remaining and could run out before the end of the current fiscal year on September 30.
Ali Velshi speaks with FEMA administrator Craig Fugate about the agency's finances and relief efforts today on American Morning.
"We want to make sure we have enough money to go to the fiscal year and we're doing our job to get ready for this and other disasters but we are focused on the immediate response," Fugate says.
"In the country I grew up in, Americans come to Americans' help in crisis. We've always done it. We'll continue to do it," Fugate continued. "We're working hard as a team. The president and everybody else is working hard to support these states and the local communities impacted."
Three days after Hurricane Irene ripped through Connecticut, reports say that about 400,000 people are still without power. Water has just crested this morning from massive flooding that rendered about one thousand roads impassable.
Today on American Morning, Governor Dannel Malloy discusses the damage within the state and the government's relief efforts with Christine Romans. He also responds the political debate over the federal role of disaster response, commenting about Ron Paul's remark that FEMA gets in the way and wastes money.
"I think he's an idiot," Malloys says. "We are spending $900 million a week in wars and he is arguing about whether we should spend some amount of money? FEMA now has currently $900 million budget available to it. This is a ridiculous conversation. I really don't understand what he is talking about and I'm not sure he does."
"Without this system of response, we would not be standing here with as few people who have died in this massive storm," Malloy adds. "For someone in Texas to be talking about FEMA being defunded really does rise to idiocy and hypocrisy. This is pure politics playing out across individuals' misery."
Brattleboro, Vermont (CNN) - As a much-weakened Irene entered Canada, it left parts of the U.S. East Coast still grappling Monday with dangerous floodwaters, widespread power outages and stranded residents.
At least 21 deaths in nine states were blamed on Irene, which fizzled to a post-tropical cyclone and headed over eastern Canada on Monday.
In North Carolina, more than 340,000 customers were without power Monday, down from more than 440,000 on Sunday night, the state's division of emergency management said.
Dominion Power reported more than 600,000 customers were without power in Virginia and northern North Carolina.
As many as 200 residents were isolated and without power Monday on Ocracoke Island, near where Irene had first made landfall as a hurricane on Saturday. Supply transport to Ocracoke was hampered as ocean waves dislodged large chunks of a key roadway.
Dunes at Ocracoke's northern end "have apparently been spread across the road, so no one yet knows how badly the pavement is damaged," said Clayton Gaskill, manager of Ocracoke's tiny FM radio station WOVV.
This morning on American Morning, we spoke with North Carolina Gov. Bev. Perdue on the latest in the rescue efforts and the extent of the damage in the state.
President Obama cut his vacation to Martha's Vineyard short this weekend so he could be at the White House when Hurricane Irene made landfall. He was one of many politicians who exercised caution in handling Irene in an attempt to avoid the political pitfalls that were seen in the handling of Hurricane Katrina six years ago.
Yesterday, he warned Americans that while the storm had dissipated, the disaster is still unfolding.
"Many Americans are still at serious risk of power outages and flooding, which could get worse in the coming days as rivers swell past their banks," the president explained. "So I want people to understand that this is not over."
Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst breaks down the government's response to the hurricane with Carol Costello on American Morning today.