President signs Tennessee disaster declaration for 10 coun - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

President signs Tennessee disaster declaration for 10 counties

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WRCB) -- President Obama has declared a major disaster exists in 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.

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

"My goal is always to make sure we get the needed assistance to as many families as possible," Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said of the disaster assistance he requested. "I'm very pleased the federal government has taken this step to provide needed relief to those individuals and families impacted by these storms."

On Thursday, Senators Alexander and Corker and Representatives Duncan, DesJarlais, Black and Fleischmann sent the following letter to the president in support of Governor Haslam's request that the president declare a major disaster in Tennessee.

I'm pleased that the president responded so quickly to the governor's request, and our support of that request, by issuing a major disaster declaration for these counties in Tennessee," said Sen. Alexander. "This federal support won't make anyone whole, but it will help people and businesses get back on their feet."

Sen. Corker added, "I thank Governor Haslam for seeking aid for those recovering from the severe storms, and I appreciate the administration's quick approval of the governor's request that was supported by our congressional delegation.  As communities continue to repair and rebuild, I hope this assistance will help Tennesseans in need."

W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Terry L. Quarles as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.

FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

FEMA said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at  or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.

The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

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