As of the end of May 2015, there were more than 480 counties designated as drought disaster areas by the United States government. This includes virtually all of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Oregon. Significant portions of several other states including Idaho, New Mexico and Texas have also fallen under the drought disaster category.

As a nation, we have recently grappled with a significant number of fast-moving hurricane and storm-related disasters; Katrina and Hugo in the Gulf Region and Sandy, Lee and Irene in the Northeast. The unfolding drought disasters present unique challenges, create or add new burdens for vulnerable populations and require new forms of assistance to meet those needs. However, lessons learned from other disasters and best practices in program administration can be incorporated into these responses, improving outcomes and lives.

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