Members of Tennessee Delegation Send Letter to President Supporting Gov. Haslam’s Request for Disaster Declaration for 15 Counties

Posted on May 7, 2011

WASHINGTON – Members of the Tennessee U.S. congressional delegation announced today that they have sent a letter to President Barack Obama supporting Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s request for the president to declare 15 counties as federal disaster areas due to a series of severe storms, straight-line winds, flash flooding and the record flooding of the Mississippi River, beginning on April 19, 2011. The counties are Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henderson, Henry, Houston, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, Montgomery, Obion, Shelby and Stewart counties. The full text of the letter, dated May 7, 2011, and signed by Senators Alexander and Corker and Representatives Roe, Duncan, Fleischmann, DesJarlais, Cooper, Black, Blackburn, Fincher and Cohen, follows.            

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of the State of Tennessee, we urge you to approve Governor Bill Haslam’s request to declare a major disaster due to severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes, flash flooding and river flooding that began on April 19, 2011. 

Residents all across our state are faced with devastation from multiple disasters, and Governor Haslam has determined that this incident has caused so much damage that federal assistance is necessary.   Flooding along the Mississippi River has compounded the impact of the storms that swept across the Southeast, and will continue to impact our state for weeks. Thousands of our constituents are now dealing with the challenge of rebuilding their homes, while many in West Tennessee are still under the threat of catastrophic flooding.

The Governor’s request specifically seeks Public Assistance for all categories, under the provisions of Section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, for Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henderson, Henry, Houston, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, Montgomery, Obion, Shelby and Stewart Counties, as well as state-wide assistance through the Hazard Mitigation Grant program.  This assistance is critical to help local governments begin debris removal and start putting their communities back together.

In addition, the State is seeking Individual Assistance for Dyer, Lake, Obion, Shelby and Stewart Counties, making residents of these counties eligible for the Individuals and Households Program, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Disaster Legal Services and Small Business Administration disaster loans.  Without this federal assistance, many families will simply not be able to recover. 

Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been working with state and local officials since the beginning of this incident, and we are grateful for their efforts to respond to Tennessee’s needs.  We ask that you consider our State’s request as soon as possible, and our offices can provide you with any additional information should you have any questions.