Governor Bill Haslam has requested that President Trump make federal assistance available immediately to help the state recover from the powerful storms that struck over Memorial Day weekend.
The governor is specifically requesting federal public assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to be made available to the 12 Tennessee counties hit hardest by the storm.
The federal money would go toward reimbursing local and state governments, along with paying certain private nonprofit organizations for work done to repair or remove debris after the storm. The request specifically names Blount, Cumberland, Fayette, Knox, Loudon Morgan, Putnam, Rhea, Roane, Sevier, Shelby and Smith counties.
On May 31, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency director Patrick Sheehan requested FEMA to send federal teams to Tennessee to do a preliminary damage assessment. According to the governor’s office, those assessments showed utilities alone suffered $15.9 million worth in damage in the above listed counties. Local governments also paid more than $14.9 million for emergency work and debris removal.
“Scores of Tennesseans suffered in the aftermath of these storms, with many left with destroyed or very damaged homes,” Sheehan said in the release. “The State of Tennessee will continue working with local, non-governmental, and federal partners to ensure any qualified assistance is provided as quickly as possible.”
Members of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation sent a letter urging the president to quickly approve Haslam’s request , writing in part, “we strongly urge you to approve Governor Haslam’s request, and we hope you will consider our State’s request as soon as possible.”
The letter was signed by U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and Representatives Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn, Steve Cohen, Jim Cooper, Scott DesJarlais, John Duncan, Jr., Chuck Fleischmann, David Kustoff and Phil Roe.