U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) have released statements on President Obama's issuance of a "major disaster" declaration for the state of Tennessee, which triggered the release of federal funds to help individuals recover from the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding that occurred in Bradley, Claiborne, Cumberland, DeKalb, Hamilton, Jackson, McMinn, Monroe, Overton, and Polk counties from February 29 to March 2, 2012:
"I'm pleased that the president responded so quickly to the governor's request, and our support of that request, by issuing a major disaster declaration for these counties in Tennessee. This federal support won't make anyone whole, but it will help people and businesses get back on their feet," said Alexander
Senator Corker also applauded the disaster assistance "I thank Governor Haslam for seeking aid for those recovering from the severe storms, and I appreciate the administration's quick approval of the governor's request that was supported by our congressional delegation. As communities continue to repair and rebuild, I hope this assistance will help Tennesseans in need," Corker said.
On March 15, Senators Alexander and Corker and Representatives Duncan, DesJarlais, Black and Fleischmann sent the following letter to the president in support of Governor Haslam's request that the president declare a major disaster in Tennessee:
Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of the State of Tennessee, we respectfully request that you declare a major disaster pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act due to the severe storms, straight line winds, tornadoes and flooding that began on the morning of February 29th through March 2, 2012.
Governor Bill Haslam has submitted a request for Individual Assistance for Bradley, Claiborne, Cumberland, DeKalb, Hamilton, Jackson, McMinn, Monroe, Overton and Polk counties, as well as Hazard Mitigation Grant Program assistance statewide. We strongly urge you to approve Governor Haslam's request, and we hope you will consider our State's request as soon as possible.
The storms that swept through Tennessee beginning February 29, 2012 claimed three lives, damaged hundreds homes and left families across the state in need of immediate shelter. According to the preliminary damage assessments there is over $18 million in damages to homes, and several workers have also lost their jobs due to damage to businesses. Tennessee has suffered 5 declared disasters in the past 12 months, and several counties are still struggling to recover.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency since the beginning of this incident, and we are grateful for their efforts to respond to Tennessee's needs. Our offices can provide you with any additional information should you have any questions.
Survivors affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding Feb. 29 through March 2 should apply now for federal assistance.
Federal funding is available to affected individuals in Bradley, Claiborne, Cumberland, DeKalb, Hamilton, Jackson, McMinn, Monroe, Overton and Polk counties.
Individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency can help eligible applicants with temporary housing assistance, uninsured personal property losses and medical, dental and funeral expenses caused by the disaster, along with other disaster-related expenses and serious needs. Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not covered by insurance.
Storm survivors should register with FEMA, a process that takes 15 to 30 minutes.
Registration is available online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone at 800-621-FEMA (3362). Help is available in many languages. Disaster applicants who use TTY should call 800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) should call 800-621-3362.
The toll-free FEMA registration numbers are available seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time.
Survivors also can apply for federal assistance directly through Web-enabled mobile phone devices or smartphones. Registration through the mobile site involves three steps:
Go to m.fema.gov and click "Apply Online for FEMA Assistance." You will be directed to www.DisasterAssistance.gov;
Click on Start Registration; and fill out the registration form.
FEMA will ask for the following information:
The telephone number where applicants can be reached;
The address where applicants lived at the time of the disaster and the address where they are staying;
Their Social Security number;
A general description of damage to property and other losses;
The name of the insurance company and policy number or agent if the property is insured; and
Bank account routing information (for direct deposit of funds) or address for mail delivery (optional).
People whose property suffered any storm damage are encouraged to document damage with photographs and to save repair receipts. Damage also should be reported to the insurance company.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for all of Tennessee.