Donald Trump Approves Tennessee Disaster Declaration After This Week’s Deadly Tornadoes

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President Donald Trump directed aid to Tennessee Thursday to supplement state and local recovery efforts due to wide-spread damage caused by Monday’s overnight storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding.

“The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Davidson, Putnam, and Wilson Counties. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster,” according to a White House statement.

“Federal funding also is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work in Davidson, Putnam, and Wilson Counties. Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.”

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Pete Gaynor named Myra M. Shird as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

“Damage assessments are continuing, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed,” the statement said.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can apply for assistance Friday by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired, the press release said.

The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice, according to the press release.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency officials said in a separate press release that more information on FEMA’s Public Assistant program is at: https://www.fema.gov/public-assistance-local-state-tribal-and-non-profit.

TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan said more counties and more categories of FEMA’s PA reimbursement help may be added to the federal declaration.

“Joint preliminary damage assessments are ongoing with FEMA,” Sheehan said.

“Our goal is to work to have Benton, Carroll, and Gibson counties added to today’s Major Disaster Declaration, and to expand the availability of PA reimbursement assistance to include repairs to bridges, roads, and infrastructure in all six counties requested.”

The National Weather Service has confirmed two tornadoes touched down in Tennessee this week.  The first, an EF3 with 165 mph winds, tracked through Metro Nashville into Wilson County.  The second, an EF4 tornado, severely impacted Putnam County.

The tornadoes and severe storms caused 24 weather-related fatalities, damaged or destroyed five public schools, left 101,521 residents without power, and closed state government offices.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

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