U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., today toured with President Bush the areas devastated by the deadly tornados that struck the state earlier this week.
Alexander and Corker joined President Bush in a helicopter for an aerial view of the storm-damaged area and later received a briefing conducted by state and federal officials on regional recovery efforts. They also visited with survivors and recovery workers at a Lafayette neighborhood.
“I am grateful both to Governor Bredesen and President Bush for acting literally overnight to provide assistance to Tennesseans who have been devastated,” Alexander said. “I have dealt with many disasters, but I have never seen faster action. Seeing the aftermath of the storms firsthand convinces me that Tuesday night’s string of tornadoes were as rough as anything that I’ve seen in my lifetime. My prayers continue to be with the families and communities that have suffered tremendous losses as a result of these storms.”
“Pictures cannot adequately capture the human toll of these storms,” said Corker. “We met people today who’ve lost everything – their whole life’s work – and yet they feel so blessed just to be alive. Tennesseans have suffered tremendous losses and the message of today is we will not forget about you. Next week, next month, next year – as long as it takes – we will do everything we can to help you rebuild your lives and your communities. What I find incredibly moving are the countless examples of neighbors helping neighbors – Salvation Army and Red Cross volunteers, prayer groups from other states, and local citizens all pitching in to help in this effort.”
Alexander and Corker thanked Governor Bredesen and President Bush for their quick actions in requesting and granting federal disaster aid to the state. President Bush has authorized federal aid for the five hardest hit counties in the state, making federal funding available to individuals in Hardin, Macon, Madison, Shelby and Sumner Counties.
Alexander and Corker said they will continue to monitor the recovery and clean-up efforts and will support Governor Bredesen and other state officials in their efforts to gain additional federal aid for other Tennessee counties as damage assessments are made.
“This aid is a first step in helping Tennessee families and businesses recover from their devastating losses,” Alexander said. “I will continue to work closely with Senator Corker and members of the Tennessee Congressional delegation to assist Governor Bredesen and local officials with securing the federal resources they will need to respond to this disaster and rebuild the homes, businesses and lives in these Tennessee communities.”
“Governor Bredesen acted quickly in getting a disaster request to the President and the President acted quickly in signing it,” Corker said. “It’s evident on the ground that the response from the very beginning has been timely and cooperative, and that all of the entities involved are working together to get aid to Tennesseans who desperately need it. Senator Alexander and I will continue working with the Tennessee delegation to ensure that we are pursuing appropriate federal resources. Our thoughts, prayers and support go to every Tennessean who has suffered because of these storms.”
Corker continued on Friday to view the effects of the tornados in Jackson, Tenn., while Alexander returned to Washington with the President. Alexander will visit other storm-damaged areas in the state during the next two weeks.
Residents and business owners with losses in the designated counties can apply for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA or by registering online at www.fema.gov.
Citizens are also encouraged to call Alexander’s and Corker’s local offices for assistance in navigating federal aid.
Alexander Jackson Office: 731-423-9344
Alexander Memphis Office: 901-544-4224
Alexander Nashville Office: 615-736-5129
Corker Jackson Office: 731-424-9655
Corker Memphis Office: 901-683-1910
Corker Nashville Office: 615-279-8125