Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has announced that nine counties will be added to the existing 36 receiving federal recovery assistance from the severe winter storm of Feb. 15, to Feb. 22, 2015.
Claiborne, Cocke, Davidson, DeKalb, Greene, Hawkins, Pickett, Rhea and Wayne counties were added to the declaration following new damage assessments requested by the state, and conducted by local officials, representatives of Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“I appreciate the hard work of all the county emergency management officials who are out there every day working for the citizens they serve to get them the help they need, and this assistance will provide some relief to these additional counties,” Haslam said.
Tennessee now has 45 counties included in the Presidential Disaster Declaration, DR-4211, of April 2, 2015. Previously declared counties include: Anderson, Bedford, Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, Fentress, Giles, Grainger, Grundy, Hamblen, Hancock, Hardeman, Hardin, Jefferson, Knox, Lawrence, Loudon, Marshall, McMinn, McNairy, Meigs, Monroe, Moore, Morgan, Obion, Overton, Putnam, Roane, Scott, Sevier, Van Buren, Warren and White.
The federal assistance will allow eligible government entities and certain private non-profits in the declared counties to apply for reimbursement of specific expenses related to disaster response and recovery under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance Program.
The Public Assistance Program provides a 75 percent funding reimbursement for costs related to debris removal, emergency protective measures, and rebuilding and repairing roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, utilities and recreational facilities.
State and local governments and electrical utilities spent more than $30.4 million in their response and recovery actions before, during and after the winter storm.
The February storm took 30 lives, severely damaged local utilities, forced universities, K-12 schools, and daycares to close, and impacted communities and residents throughout the state.
Multiple state agencies were involved in the response, including the Tennessee departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Insurance, Correction, Environment and Conservation, Finance and Administration, General Services, Health, Human Resources, Human Services, Transportation, Military, Safety, and the Tennessee National Guard, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Commission on Aging. The response involved approximately 3,500 state employees.
TEMA’s mission is to coordinate preparedness, response and recovery from man-made, natural and technological hazards in a professional and efficient manner in concert with our stakeholders. For more information, visit the TEMA website at www.tnema.org.