UPDATE: All members of Congress from Tennessee are urging President Trump to "quickly" approve Governor Lee's request for a Major Disaster Declaration.

Pres. Trump's approval would make it possible for Tennessee's 58 counties that were impacted by flooding and severe weather in February and March to get federal assistance. Five of those 58 counties are in Channel 3's viewing area: Hamilton, Marion, Bledsoe, Rhea and Sequatchie Counties.

Here is what the letter, which TN congressional members, submitted to the president:

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of the State of Tennessee, we are writing to support Governor Bill Lee’s request to declare a major disaster pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act as a result of the flooding and severe storms that impacted our state beginning on February 6, 2019.

Governor Bill Lee has submitted a request for Public Assistance for Anderson, Bedford, Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Carter, Cheatham, Claiborne, Clay, Cocke, Coffee, Decatur, Dekalb, Dickson, Dyer, Fentress, Gibson, Giles, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Hawkins, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Lake, Lauderdale, Lewis, Lincoln, Marion, Marshall, McNairy, Moore, Morgan, Obion, Overton, Perry, Rhea, Roane, Robertson, Scott, Sequatchie, Sevier, Smith, Tipton, Unicoi, Union, Van Buren, Warren, Wayne, and Weakley Counties to respond to the severe flooding and overwhelming storms that tore through Tennessee. The State has also requested Individual Assistance for Decatur, Hardin, Humphreys, Perry, and Sevier Counties. We strongly urge you to approve Governor Lee’s request, and we hope you will consider our State’s request as soon as possible.

We thank you for your Administration’s ongoing response, specifically the March 15, 2019, announcement that $10 million is immediately available to help repair roads damaged by flood and landslides. However, the severe storms that swept across the State of Tennessee beginning on February 6th brought severe storms and flooding that cost the state over $151 million. In response to the floods and severe storms, the State of Tennessee provided over 4,000 meals, distributed almost 300 cases of water, monitored fifty-eight rock slides or falls, and was forced to close down 75 locations on state highways. Federal Emergency Management Agency and State joint Preliminary Damage Assessments in affected counties for both Public and Individual Assistance occurred between March 12, 2019, and March 21, 2019.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency since the beginning of this incident, and we are grateful for their efforts to respond to Tennessee’s needs. Our offices can provide you with any additional information should you have any questions.

Channel 3 will keep you updated. 


PREVIOUS STORY: Tennessee Governor Bill Lee sent a formal request on Friday to President Donald Trump for a Major Disaster Declaration to make federal recovery assistance available to areas impacted by the significant flooding and severe storms in February.

TEMA officials say since the heavy rain, major flooding, and severe storms began on February 6, 83 of Tennessee’s 95 counties have reported some level of flood damage and severe weather impact. 

Governor Lee’s request specifically asks the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to make the Public Assistance (PA) program available to 58 Tennessee counties impacted by the flooding and severe storms.

Of those 58 counties, five are in the Channel 3 viewing area, including Bledsoe, Hamilton, Marion, Rhea and Sequatchie Counties.

“The severe flooding has left many Tennessee jurisdictions unsure about how to fund the unexpected need to repair infrastructure and pay for their emergency measures,” Governor Lee said. “I believe we have demonstrated the need for federal assistance is necessary and if granted, will lessen some of the financial burden on local resources for flood response and recovery.”

FEMA’s PA program reimburses local and state governments, utilities, and certain private, non-profit organizations for emergency protective measures and debris removal, and for repairs to roads and bridges, water control facilities, buildings, and equipment as the result of a federally-declared disaster.

Click here for more information about FEMA's PA program.

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