Flood Recovery Efforts Making Progress

Monday, April 25, 2011 | 03:00am

Individuals, governments receiving significant assistance through recovery programs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – One year after a major flood struck 49 counties in Tennessee and took the lives of 24 individuals, disaster recovery efforts are still underway in many communities. Assistance programs, like home buyouts and public assistance to local government, are continuing to provide relief to the disaster areas.
“Our state agencies and federal partners have worked tirelessly to help Tennessee communities rebuild and recover from the floods last May,” said Gov. Bill Haslam. “We will continue to do our part to ensure the recovery process is working for Tennesseans impacted by this disaster.”
Nearly 68,000 individuals and families have received $167 million through the federal individual assistance grant program as a result of the May 2010 flood. The grants have helped survivors find temporary housing, make basic repairs to homes and replace essential personal property. 
The U.S. Small Business Administration also has approved more than $182 million in disaster loans for uninsured losses sustained by homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes.
At the state level, Tennessee's Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters provided 94,000 meals and snacks during the flood response, the Tennessee National Guard deployed 500 members to conduct water rescues and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health used a $2.4 million federal grant to provide crisis counseling to disaster survivors.    
To date, $41 million has been reimbursed to local governments through 279 contracts with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), which administers the federal public assistance program. Public assistance provides relief from costs incurred by local government for response and recovery activities related to disasters.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) project specialists are conducting inspections for many applicants to finalize their payments. Officials expect the recovery process to be ongoing as large projects, such as bridge repairs and reconstruction efforts, may take years to complete.
“The scope of the May 2010 flooding disaster is greater than any previous emergency in state history,” said James Bassham, Director of TEMA. “The recovery process is equally unprecedented and we are making enormous progress."
At the same time, state, local and federal officials have been moving forward quickly on home buyout activities using federal hazard mitigation funds. The mitigation program will help individuals move on with their lives and will help local governments remove a future threat to lives and property from repeated flooding, and reduce emergency response costs.
Local governments submitted 23 separate applications to purchase 270 individual properties from homeowners through TEMA’s mitigation program. The mitigation program’s first phase, which ended March 31, 2011, has a combined cost of $46,129,586.
See Joint TEMA & FEMA fact sheet attachment for more information.