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Haslam Announces SBA Disaster Declaration for Late-April Floods

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; May 10, 2013:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced today the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has granted his disaster declaration request for Stewart and its surrounding counties after severe storms and flash flooding occurred April 26, 2013.

The declaration includes Benton, Henry, Houston and Montgomery Counties, and an SBA disaster declaration makes homeowners and businesses affected by the disaster eligible for low-interest loans.

Those affected have until July 9, 2013, to apply for relief from the physical damage and until Feb. 10, 2014, to apply for relief from economic injury.

“This is good news, and these loans will help individuals whose homes and businesses were damaged more quickly recover,” Haslam said.

The interest rates for homeowners without credit elsewhere will be 1.875 percent. Loans for homeowners with credit elsewhere will be 3.750 percent. Interest rates for businesses will be four percent for those without credit elsewhere and six percent for businesses that have credit elsewhere.

Additionally, the SBA will open temporary offices to help homeowners and businesses with the disaster loan process. More information on SBA disaster loans is at: http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/loans-grants/small-busi….

The damage survey in Stewart County identified 40 homes with major damage and 19 homes with minor damage. There were eight businesses identified with major damage and two businesses with minor damage. Damage assessment teams also identified three other structures in Stewart County with major damage.

From April 26, to April 28, 2013, a severe weather front brought heavy precipitation into middle Tennessee and parts of west and east Tennessee. The National Weather Service (NWS) reported heavy rainfall totals of up to six inches that resulted in localized flash flooding.

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More Disaster Declaration Requests for Obama from Haslam

Press Release from Bill Haslam, Governor of the State of Tennessee, 7 May 2011:

Requests Assistance for Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henderson, Henry, Houston, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, Montgomery, Obion, Shelby and Stewart counties

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has asked President Obama to declare 15 counties as federal disaster areas due to a series of severe storms, straight-line winds, flash flooding and the record flooding of the Mississippi River, beginning on April 19, 2011.

Should this request for assistance be granted, Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henderson, Henry, Houston, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, Montgomery, Obion, Shelby and Stewart counties would have access to varying levels of federal assistance programs.

Haslam may request other counties as damage assessments are completed.

“We have many fine first responders, local leaders and state agencies who have been engaged for many days making sure we can protect and save lives, and protect property, during many severe weather and flooding emergencies,” Haslam said. “Federal assistance would help people restore their lives and help local governments rebuild their infrastructure.”

On April 26, Haslam declared a state of emergency as a precautionary move because of the severe weather and forecast of Mississippi River flooding. Haslam was briefed April 29 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the storms and their effect on water levels along the Mississippi River system, and he toured the levees in Northwest Tennessee with emergency management officials and local mayors May 3.

In the request, Haslam seeks Individual Assistance for Dyer, Lake, Obion, Shelby and Stewart counties, to include the Individuals and Households Program (IHP), Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling, Disaster Food Stamp Program, American Bar Association Young Lawyers Legal Aid, and Small Businesses Administration disaster loans. The request also seeks assistance through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

Haslam also seeks Public Assistance for all the counties in the request for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and rebuilding and repairing roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, utilities and recreational facilities.

The Department of Military, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment & Conservation, Department of Health (EMS), Department of Human Services, Department of Transportation, Department of Safety, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Civil Air Patrol, American Red Cross and Tennessee Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters are responding to the current flooding emergency and providing protective services to help local efforts.

Heavy snow-pack melting and above average rainfall in the Midwest raised the Mississippi River to record flood levels along Tennessee’s western border at the end of April. The rising Mississippi River added to flooding already occurring in many middle and west Tennessee counties due to severe storms and tornadoes in mid-April.

Additional information about state and federal assistance for affected counties will be released as details become available.

Damage assessments continue in East Tennessee following the storms and tornadoes that impacted that part of the state last week. Additional counties are expected to be added to the initial declaration from May 2 as those assessments continue.

For more updates regarding the state’s response, visit the TEMA website at www.tnema.org.

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Federal Flood Money Flowing In

The typical flood victim will collect $5,000 to $10,000 in federal aid to help put their lives back together, even if the damage extends by thousands of dollars beyond that.

Those who qualify can also apply for loans, although that money will have to be paid back.

“In many cases, it gets people back into their homes,” Eugene Brezany, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency said last week. “So at least they’ve got a roof over their heads and knifes, forks and spoons in the kitchen drawer. But it’s pretty bare bones,” he said.

Residents in more than half of the 52 soggy counties slammed with a storm that triggered floods earlier this month are now eligible to register with FEMA, officially signing up for an inspection of their home or damaged property in order to calculate how much recovery grant money, if any, they qualify for from the federal government.

Residents in counties not yet named disaster areas will have to wait until their area is called before applying.

It can take days or weeks for a FEMA representative to survey a property to determine the total damage. Once the inspection is over, money to help repair leaky basements, replace soggy carpets and replace goods that were soaked in flood waters could take few weeks to arrive, Brezany said.

The federal aid is aimed at those who lacked insurance to cover their flood and storm damages. FEMA says those who were insured are still encouraged to register because there may be other damages not included in the initial settlement.

Residents have several options to dealing with their flood damage. In addition to the grant money, they can also apply for low interest loans with the Small Business Administration or a private company.

Eligible residents can apply for up to a $200,000 loan from the federal government at a 2.75 percent interest rate. Individuals can tack on up to $40,000 more to address personal property, such as vehicles.

But it’s no blank check, said Jelani Miller, a spokesman for the Small Business Administration, adding that each dollar must be spent addressing issues related to the storm and flood. While someone might be replacing a water-damaged TV, they are not supposed to use that money buy an entertainment system.

The same goes for low-interest federal business loans, which allow a company to borrow up to $2 million at 4 percent interest.

Some private banks also offer disaster related loans which can be used more freely than the government money.

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Obama Extends Major Disasters Area By 2 Counties

State of Tennessee Press Release; May 5, 2010:

Authorization Made Today for Montgomery, Dyer Counties

NASHVILLE – The federal government today authorized a major disaster declaration for two additional Tennessee counties. On Monday, Governor Phil Bredesen asked President Obama to declare 52 counties federal disaster areas following the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that struck the state beginning Friday, April 30.

Today’s action makes federal funding available to individuals in Montgomery and Dyer Counties. Four counties – Cheatham, Davidson, Hickman and Williamson – were authorized yesterday. Declarations for additional counties requested by the Governor are expected in coming days.

“President Obama and the federal government continue to move quickly in their response,” said Bredesen. “As people begin to rebuild their homes and their lives, this assistance will be an important resource for Tennesseans.”

Tennessee suffered 20 confirmed fatalities as a result of the extreme weather and flooding that struck the state April 30-May 2. Numerous nursing homes, apartment complexes and residences were evacuated due to rapidly rising waters and flash flooding. Water rescues and helicopter extractions were performed as flood waters rushed over hundreds of roads through cities, towns and neighborhoods. Many residents lost all of their possessions as homes were destroyed or sustained major damages.

Bredesen today toured northern Middle Tennessee, including Montgomery and Sumner Counties, and toured impacted areas of West and Middle Tennessee on Monday. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was in Tennessee and Bredesen also spoke by phone with President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Monday, May 3.

The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the six counties authorized to date, including both individual and public assistance.

Individual assistance can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Public assistance is also available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures only at this time. In addition, federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the four designated counties can begin applying for assistance immediately by registering online at www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

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Obama Declares 4 Counties Disaster Areas

State of Tennessee Press Release; May 4, 2020:

Initial Authorization Made for Cheatham, Davidson, Hickman, Williamson Counties; Additional Counties Expected to be Added in Coming Days

NASHVILLE – The federal government today authorized a major disaster declaration for four Tennessee counties. Governor Phil Bredesen asked President Obama Monday to declare 52 counties federal disaster areas following the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that struck the state beginning Friday, April 30.

Today’s action makes federal funding available to individuals in Cheatham, Davidson, Hickman and Williamson Counties while declarations for additional Tennessee counties are expected in coming days.

As a result of the extreme weather conditions, Tennessee suffered 19 confirmed fatalities. Numerous nursing homes, apartment complexes and residences were evacuated due to rapidly rising waters and flash flooding. Water rescues and helicopter extractions were performed as flood waters continue to rush over hundreds of roads through cities, towns and neighborhoods. Many residents lost all of their possessions as homes were destroyed or sustained major damages.

“The federal government has moved quickly to assist Tennessee and I appreciate the quick action by President Obama to declare the first of what I expect will be many counties authorized for federal assistance,” said Bredesen. “In addition to the state and local resources utilized in the initial response, I know all counties impacted by these devastating storms are anxious for assistance and access to the resources of the federal government.”

Bredesen toured impacted areas of West and Middle Tennessee on Monday, May 3. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was in Tennessee and Bredesen also spoke by phone with President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Monday.

The President’s action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the four counties, including both individual and public assistance.

Individual assistance can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Public assistance is also available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures only at this time. In addition, federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the four designated counties can begin applying for assistance immediately by registering online at www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).