Press Releases

Disaster Declaration for Upper East TN Floods

Press release from the Office of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; August 17, 2012:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced today the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has granted his disaster declaration request for Washington and its surrounding counties after severe storms and flash flooding occurred Aug. 5, 2012.

The declaration includes Carter, Greene, Hawkins, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties, and an SBA disaster declaration makes homeowners and businesses affected by the disaster eligible for low-interest loans.

“This is good news and will provide a measure of relief and recovery to the individuals whose homes and businesses were damaged earlier this month in Upper East Tennessee,” Haslam said.

The interest rates for homeowners without credit elsewhere will be 1.688 percent. Loans for homeowners with credit elsewhere will be 3.375 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 a temporary office on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012, in the, Washington County Courthouse, 100 E. Main St. in Jonesborough, to help homeowners and businesses with the disaster loan process. More information on SBA disaster loans is at:

On Aug. 5, a severe storm front moved across Tennessee cause numerous severe straight line winds and flash flooding, which continued through Aug. 6, 2012. The following weekend, teams from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, SBA and local emergency management officials conducted a preliminary damage assessment in Carter, Unicoi and Washington counties. In Washington County, more than 25 uninsured homes and businesses experienced damage in excess of 40 percent of their replacement value. This damage was enough to qualify the county for an SBA disaster declaration.

Those affected have until Oct. 15, 2012, to apply for relief from the physical damage and until May 16, 2013, to apply for relief from economic injury.

Press Releases

Federal Dishing Out Drought Disaster Loans

Press release from the U.S. Small Business Administration (via; July 20, 2012:  

ATLANTA, July 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The U.S. Small Business Administration announced today that federal economic injury disaster loans are available to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes located in Henry, Lake, Montgomery, Obion, Robertson, Stewart and Weakley counties in Tennessee as a result of the drought that began on June 19, 2012.

“These counties are eligible because they are contiguous to one or more primary counties in Kentucky. The Small Business Administration recognizes that disasters do not usually stop at county or state lines. For that reason, counties adjacent to primary counties named in the declaration are included,” said Frank Skaggs, director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

“When the Secretary of Agriculture issues a disaster declaration to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops, the Small Business Administration issues a declaration to assist eligible entities affected by the same disaster,” Skaggs added.

Under this declaration, the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible

farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquaculture enterprises, SBA cannot provide disaster loans to agricultural producers, farmers, or ranchers. Nurseries are eligible to apply for economic injury disaster loans for losses caused by drought conditions.

Loan amounts can be up to $2 million, with interest rates of 3 percent for non-profit organizations and 4 percent for small businesses. Terms can be up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. The agency sets loan amounts and terms based on each applicant’s financial condition. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at

Disaster loan information and application forms may also be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to Loan applications can be downloaded from the SBA’s website at Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than March 12, 2013.

For more information about the SBA’s Disaster Loan Program, visit our website at

Contact: Michael Lampton
Release Number: 12-660 KY 13127
Phone: 404-331-0333

Press Releases

Disaster Area Tally Up to 45 Counties

State of Tennessee Press Release; May 19, 2010:

Cannon, Giles, Marshall Approved for Individual, Public Assistance

NASHVILLE – Four Tennessee counties have been approved for federal assistance as a result of extreme weather and flooding that struck the state April 30-May 2.

Cannon, Giles and Marshall counties have been approved in both the individual and public assistance categories. Residents and business owners who sustained losses in Cannon, Giles and Marshall counties can begin applying for assistance immediately by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

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.

In addition, Pickett County has been approved in the public assistance category. The designation means local governments in Pickett County are eligible to apply for federal assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures and repairing, restoring or replacing damaged public facilities.

Two of the counties announced today – Marshall and Pickett – were not among the counties for which Governor Phil Bredesen originally requested disaster assistance on May 3, but preliminary damage assessments conducted since the initial request led both counties to qualify.

Forty-two counties were previously approved for individual and public assistance, including Benton, Carroll, Cheatham, Crockett, Davidson, Decatur, Dickson, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Hardeman, Haywood, Henderson, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Madison, Maury, McNairy, Montgomery, Obion, Perry, Robertson, Rutherford, Shelby, Smith, Sumner, Tipton, Williamson and Wilson.

Today’s announcement brings the number of counties approved for both individual and public assistance to 45 and adds Pickett County in the public assistance category.

FEMA will schedule briefings with local officials in approved counties to provide information on the assistance available and how to apply. Federal, state and local teams have been inspecting all disaster-related damage, examining expenses identified by the state or local representatives, and preparing reports that outline the scope of repair work needed and the estimated restoration cost.

For public assistance projects that are eventually approved, FEMA will pay 75 percent of the cost. The remaining 25 percent is split between the state and local government. These projects may include such things as debris removal, emergency services related to the severe storms and flooding, and repairing or replacing damaged public facilities. The latter category includes eligible schools, libraries and other public buildings, and repairing roads, bridges, water control facilities, utilities and recreational facilities.

Additional information about state and federal assistance for affected counties will be released as details become available. For more updates regarding the state’s response, visit the TEMA website at

Press Releases

President Authorizes Disaster Declarations for 4 More Counties

State of Tennessee Press Release; May 6, 2010:

NASHVILLE – The federal government this evening authorized a major disaster declaration for four 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.

This evening’s action makes federal funding available to individuals in McNairy, Perry, Shelby and Tipton Counties. Federal officials earlier today authorized declarations for 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.

“I appreciate the speedy approvals of these counties for assistance by President Obama and the federal government,” said Bredesen. “Making these resources available in these additional counties will help those who have suffered losses begin to rebuild their homes and their lives.”

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.

Governor Bredesen and state and local officials toured northern Middle Tennessee counties today, including Montgomery and Sumner Counties. Similar tours were conducted of 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 10 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 or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

Press Releases

Federal Farm Assistance Announced for 16 TN Counties

State of Tennessee Press release, Dec. 11, 2009:

Five More Counties Requested for Primary Disaster Designation

NASHVILLE – Governor Phil Bredesen today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved his request for federal farm assistance for 16 Tennessee counties due to excessive rain and flooding that occurred in September and October.

“Farming is challenging enough without the added uncertainty of weather. This disaster designation will be important for helping farmers who have experienced significant crop losses this year due to heavy rains,” said Bredesen. “I’m pleased that USDA has responded so promptly to my request.”

Bredesen made the request in a Nov. 23 letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The 16 counties designated as primary natural disaster areas include: Bradley, Chester, Cumberland, Hamilton, Hardeman, Lauderdale, Macon, McMinn, McNairy, Meigs, Polk, Rhea, Shelby, Smith, Trousdale and Wilson.

The designation makes farmers in these counties eligible to apply for assistance, including emergency loans and supplemental farm payments, through their local USDA Farm Service Agency. Also qualifying as secondary, adjoining disaster counties are: Bledsoe, Cannon, Clay, Crockett, Davidson, DeKalb, Dyer, Fayette, Fentress, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Loudon, Madison, Marion, Monroe, Morgan, Putnam, Roane, Rutherford, Sequatchie, Sumner, Tipton, Van Buren and White.

Bredesen today also requested a primary disaster designation for five more East and Middle Tennessee counties. Those counties include: Claiborne, Cocke, Rutherford, Sevier and Union.

Farmers in affected counties have reported crop losses ranging from 20 to 50 percent for major crops including corn, soybeans, cotton and tobacco. Some counties reported receiving record rainfall of as much as 10 to 12 inches during what are normally the driest months of the year.

Although USDA is projecting significantly higher yields for most major Tennessee crops as compared to the previous two drought years, the heavy rains have hurt both crop yields and quality because of rotting, mold and other disease problems. Farmers have also reported losses for hay, pumpkins and other specialty crops.

Statewide, harvest this year was three to four weeks behind the five-year average due to the unusually wet weather according to the Tennessee Field Office of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. For the latest information on the state’s crop harvest, visit here.