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

Haslam Requests Presidential Disaster Declaration

Press Release from Gov. Bill. Haslam,  April 30, 2011:

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has asked President Obama to declare four Tennessee Counties as federal disaster areas following the severe storms, flash flooding and tornadoes that struck the state beginning on April 25, 2011.

Should this initial request for assistance be granted Bradley, Greene, Hamilton and Washington counties would have access to varying levels of federal assistance programs.

As local officials and responding agencies complete damage assessments, other counties are expected be added to the April 25 declaration request.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones in this emergency, and I commend the first responders who have spent many days engaged in search and rescue operations to save lives,” Haslam said. “I am confident the federal government will expedite our major disaster request so we can get to the work of helping people rebuild their lives as quickly as possible.”

As a result of the severe weather, Tennessee suffered 34 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.

In the request, Haslam seeks Public Assistance for debris removal and emergency protective actions and Individual Assistance, including 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 Statewide Mitigation Grant Program.

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 and American Red Cross responded and provided emergency protective services to supplement local efforts.

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