Damage assessments by FEMA to flood-ravaged areas to begin next week
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to begin preliminary damage assessments (PDAs) next week in 46 counties.
In the Tennessee Valley, those counties are Bledsoe, Hamilton, Marion, Rhea, and Sequatchie.
The PDAs are related to the federal public assistance program, which provides reimbursement to local governments for repairs to damaged infrastructure and emergency work related to the disaster.
Additional counties could be added to the PDA request as flood waters recede and local officials assess damages.
These assessments do not automatically turn on federal aid funding to Tennessee for this disaster. It is the next step in the process for requesting a major disaster declaration, and FEMA is simply verifying the damage totals we have so far gathered from the counties where flood waters have receded.
Even if Tennessee eventually receives a major disaster declaration, it does not guarantee Tennesseans impacted by the floods will receive help directly for rebuilding or repairing their homes. FEMA individual assistance is not a guaranteed program as part of a major disaster declaration from the federal government.
The assessments will begin next week and is the first step to determine whether the scope of damage is beyond what the state is capable of handling.
Since February 23, 2019, 83 of Tennessee's 95 counties have reported flood damages and impacts, along with 19 counties issuing state of emergency declarations. In our area, Marion County is on that list.
Damage assessments are expected to continue for several weeks, given that many communities still have flooding, and depending on any new issues from the rain to come. The flood waters will need to recede entirely in many locations for thorough damage assessments to occur.
If you need cleanup and repair help, a cleanup helpline at 1-833-556-2476 is operational in Tennessee to help flood survivors with free home and property debris cleanup through volunteer relief agencies.
If you have damage or need help with repairs with your home, notify your county emergency management.
Keep track of your damages, take pictures, and save receipts for any repairs. a list of county EMA contacts by region is available at https://www.tn.gov/tema/prepare/regional-ema-contacts.html.
If you live in Tennessee and want to volunteer to help flood survivors, please visit the Tennessee voluntary organizations active in disasters (TN VOAD), https://tnvoad.shutterfly.com/.
If you'd like to volunteer and live outside of Tennessee, please visit the national site for the voluntary organizations active in disasters, https://www.nvoad.org/.
Please do not self-deploy to any flooded area or disaster.
Tennessee remains in a state of emergency as many west and middle Tennessee counties are addressing flooding issues and the weather forecast predicts more heavy rain this weekend.