Tag Archives: disaster

Obama deems TN a disaster area for federal aid in February winter storm damage

President Barack Obama has designated Tennessee counties impacted by a severe winter storms and flooding in February as a disaster area, reports Michael Collins.

Thirty-five counties, most in the eastern and middle parts of the state, are covered under the disaster declaration… Federal funding will be available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the winter storms and flooding from Feb. 15-22.

Funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

An ice storm and multiple snow storms pummeled the state in February as temperatures dipped into single digits. The weather was blamed for the deaths of 30 people across the state and two waves of mass power outages. At the peak, more than 60,000 people were without electricity in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has estimated its statewide costs at $11.3 million.

…Additional designations may be made later if may if requested by the state and determined to be warranted, FEMA said.

Counties covered under the emergency declaration are Anderson, Bedford, Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, Fentress, Giles, Grainger, Grundy, Hamblen, Hancock, Hardeman, Jefferson, Knox, Lawrence, Loudon, Marshall, McMinn, McNairy, Meigs, Monroe, Moore, Morgan, Obion, Overton, Putnam, Roane, Scott, Sevier, Van Buren, Warren and White.

Note Gov. Bill Haslam’s news release is below.
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Sunday Column: Preparing Legislators to Function in a Disaster

State Rep. Rick Womick has reluctantly revealed that a previously secret plan is in place to allow the Tennessee General Assembly to continue functioning in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster.
Despite Womick’s understandable hesitancy to make public plans that could be exploited by those plotting disruption of legislative activities, he did so in trying — albeit unsuccessfully — to pass a bill with the goal of preventing such things and preparing for them should they occur. And many of us breathed a sigh of relief in learning that there’s at least a plan to assure that our legislators will be able to continue their vital tasks even if an electromagnetic pulse bomb (EMB) disables their ability to exchange text messages with lobbyists via cellphone.
“This is something I don’t like to put out publicly,” Womick told the House State Government Subcommittee. “There are provisions in place (in the event of an attack) where each one of you will be contacted and taken to an off-site location, in the state of Tennessee, and continue to conduct business. With the governor.”
Womick’s comments came as he pushed for passage of HB1327, which calls on the state Department of Safety and Homeland Security to do background checks and then grant security clearances to 10 select members of the Legislature assigned to a special Security Committee.

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Ten Counties Designated Disaster Areas

News release from FEMA:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Tennessee and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding during the period of February 29 to March 2, 2012.
The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Bradley, Claiborne, Cumberland, DeKalb, Hamilton, Jackson, McMinn, Monroe, Overton, and Polk.
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.

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14 Counties Deemed Agriculture Disaster Areas

News release from governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced today U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has designated 14 counties natural disasters for agriculture as a result of drought and excessive heat in 2011.
Counties designated as primary natural disaster areas include Blount, Cumberland, Fayette, Fentress, Haywood, Loudon, McMinn, Macon, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott and Wilson. Haslam requested the secretarial designation last month.
“Agriculture is important to the state and contributes significantly to our rural economy. I’m pleased that USDA has acted on my request so promptly,” Haslam said. “I hope this assistance helps eligible farmers recover and better prepare for the upcoming growing season.”
In separate action, Gov. Haslam has requested a disaster designation for Henry and Williamson counties also for drought and excessive heat and for Claiborne and Union counties for flooding and excessive rain during the past growing season.

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Gov Seeks Disaster Designation for 14 Counties

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam has asked federal officials for a natural disaster designation for 14 counties due to excessive heat and drought during the summer and fall.
The counties are Blount, Cumberland, Fayette, Fentress, Haywood, Loudon, McMinn, Macon, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott and Wilson.
Haslam announced Wednesday that he made the request to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. A designation would make farmers eligible to apply for lost income recovery, low-interest loans and other disaster assistance through the USDA Farm Service Agency.
After experiencing heavy rains and flooding early in the growing season, many areas saw record high average temperatures and drought from July to October. Farmers reported crop losses ranging from 30 to 50 percent for corn, soybeans, tobacco, pastures and hay and some commercial vegetable crops.

TEMA Slow in Making Disaster Recovery Payments

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency knows about a state audit that shows public disaster recovery money is getting paid slowly but a spokesman said there are three public assistance employees and the agency is working as fast as it can.
The performance audit by the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office said TEMA takes an average of three months, sometimes longer, to repay local costs for cleanup and repair of public property after a disaster.
“Delaying passing through of funds to county and local governments and certain nonprofit organizations can delay cleanup and recovery work, which can elevate costs and increase problems,” the audit said.

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Governor Seeks Disaster Designation for 7 Counties

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gov. Bill Haslam has asked President Barack Obama to declare seven counties federal disaster areas as a result of severe weather June 18-25.
The counties are Anderson, Claiborne, Grainger, Henderson, Knox, Loudon and Marion.
A presidential declaration would make the counties eligible for various federal assistance programs.
Haslam said in his request Tuesday the weather included “historic floods and unprecedented storms.”

Mental Health Counseling Offered to Storm Victims

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Mental Health (TDMH) has
received an extension on a $2.1 million grant from the Substance Abuse
and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to continue providing
mental health outreach, counseling, and educational services to
individuals impacted by the severe storms and historic flooding that
initially began in the spring of 2010. The grant, which was set to
conclude in June, will be extended until August 31, 2011.
The extension will allow the department to continue collaborative
efforts with five community mental health centers in Middle and West
Tennessee to provide basic mental health services in affected
communities including individual and group crisis counseling, public
education, community networking and support, and both adult and child
needs assessment and referral.

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6 More Counties Approved for Disaster Aid

News release from the governor’s office:
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced today the federal government has approved six additional counties to receive federal assistance as a result of the severe storms, flash flooding and tornadoes that struck the state April 25 through April 28, 2011.
Bledsoe, Cocke, Johnson, McMinn, Monroe and Rhea counties have been approved in the individual assistance category.
As a result of the severe weather, Tennessee suffered 37 fatalities and more than 500 homes were destroyed or sustained major damage. At the height of the emergency, up to 18 shelters provided essential needs for 233 people.
Residents who sustained losses in these counties can begin applying for assistance immediately through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by registering online at www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
“As we work through the recovery process, I appreciate the federal government continuing to help Tennesseans impacted by these storms receive the assistance they need,” Haslam said.
Bradley, Greene, Hamilton and Washington counties received approval May 2.
Additional counties may be added to the federal declaration as damage assessments of those counties affected by the April 25 storms are completed by local officials with TEMA and FEMA.
For more updates regarding the state’s response, visit the TEMA website at www.tnema.org.

Obama Signs Disaster Declaration for Four TN Counties

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed a disaster declaration for Tennessee after last week’s line of tornado-spawning storms that killed at least 34 people in the state.
Sunday’s action makes federal funding available to storm survivors in the Tennessee counties of Bradley, Greene, Hamilton and Washington. The assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs.
Federal funding also is available to state and local governments and nonprofit organizations for debris removal and emergency protective measures.
At least 342 people were killed in the storms that raged across the South last week, including 250 in Alabama, 35 in Mississippi and 15 in Georgia. Obama had already signed disaster declarations for those three states.