Posted on May 13, 2003
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Bill Frist (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today are urging President Bush to approve Tennessee's request for disaster assistance for counties across Tennessee that were severely impacted by severe storms. Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen made the official declaration for assistance earlier today. "A prompt federal response is critical to ensuring that Tennesseans receive the assistance they need to rebuild after more than a week of severe storms and flooding," Frist said. "Flooding is a tragedy for many families and businesses, and federal disaster assistance is necessary so that the process of rebuilding can immediately begin. I'm heartened by the collaborative efforts we've seen so far and I'm confident we'll move quickly beyond the tragedy." "We are asking President Bush and the Department of Homeland Security to act quickly in granting relief to the many Tennesseans in need," Alexander said. "Severe storms have caused statewide destruction, and communities are facing the long process of cleaning up." In a letter on May 13, Frist and Alexander, along with Congressmen Zach Wamp, John Duncan, Marsha Blackburn, Bart Gordon, John Tanner, Jim Cooper and Lincoln Davis, urged President Bush's prompt attention to Governor Bredesen's request for additional disaster assistance. "I toured the Brainerd area on Monday with the Governor and saw the devastation that these floods have caused in Chattanooga and the surrounding areas," Wamp said. "The federal government has a responsibility to work with local officials to help East Tennesseans rebuild their homes and lives. "During difficult times like these we are not Democrats or Republicans, we're all Tennessee volunteers. I appreciate the Governor working so quickly to ask the President for help, and I will do everything possible to help bring federal assistance to these areas." "Having seen what devastation storms and flooding like these can cause, I am hopeful federal disaster assistance will be quickly granted for McMinn, Monroe, and the other counties affected throughout the state," Duncan said. "I am confident that we will do everything we can to make sure the appropriate resources are available to help rebuild these communities." "The Tennessee Congressional delegation is working together to ensure that our state is not overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of damage costs," Blackburn said. "This is an important step not only toward rebuilding our communities economically but restoring their heart and soul, and that's what this effort is all about." "The devastation caused by these storms is heartbreaking," Gordon said. "Many families have lost just about everything they own, including the lives of loved ones. Times like these are trying, but the human spirit is resilient. "With help from family and friends, we will overcome this tragedy and rebuild destroyed homes and businesses. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families hurt by this weather-related disaster." "It is unbelievable how much destruction Tennesseans have seen in such a short period of time," Tanner said. "Our thoughts and prayers will remain with all those who have been affected. We will continue to look for ways we can help Tennesseans recover." "At times like this, it is important that we act quickly to help the many families and communities affected by the devastating storms of the last week," Cooper said. "I join with others in the Tennessee Congressional delegation to encourage President Bush to recognize the extensive damage across the state by adding 25 additional counties to the list of those eligible for disaster relief. It is an important step in helping our neighbors rebuild their homes and their lives." "Swift action is needed to assist the families and businesses of Tennessee," Davis said. Public Assistance has been requested for Benton, Cannon, Carroll, DeKalb, Dickson, Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Perry, Polk, Stewart, Williamson counties. Individual Assistance has been requested for Cannon, Rutherford, Bedford, Coffee, Davidson, DeKalb, Marshall, Warren, Williamson, Wilson, Bledsoe, Bradley, Lincoln, Marion, Maury, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Polk, Rhea, Sequatchie, Wayne and Hamilton.