Working Together to Rebuild After Flooding Disaster
Tennessee is facing an enormous crisis due to historically high flood waters that receded in the state. The aftermath is tragic; the damage is still not fully comprehensible. Nonetheless, the real story lies in the heart of the state’s motto: America at its best. Through various fundraisers and the rise of good-hearted people, the great Volunteer State has proven itself heroic in tough times.
The incredible flooding made its mark on the state, killing 31 people and destroying thousands of private homes. The rains also caused colossal damage to infrastructure and roadways, making the recovery that much more difficult. Economic strain has set into many communities throughout the state, and many have been left to assemble together basic volunteer services and shelters.
According to NOAA and the Corps of Engineers, the flooding in Tennessee was a result of 1,000-year rainfall event. In addition to the impact on private citizens and businesses, these disasters have placed a significant financial burden on the state. Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) officials have worked diligently to coordinate the state’s response to this tragedy. The federal government has also stepped in to help, providing joint FEMA-State Preliminary Damage Assessments to help speed recovery. In addition, 42 of the 52 designated counties in the state are now eligible for disaster relief. This will certainly help get the funding needed for the extensive cleanup process.
As we begin this recovery process, we begin to truly see and understand the magnitude of the damage. We can see that many have lost everything – their homes, treasured items and some their lives. Of those who lost their homes, many are concerned about flood insurance and costs associated with the disaster, especially those who are unemployed as a result of the economic recession. Tennesseans are helping themselves and their neighbors, but our state will require assistance beyond what current emergency programs’ funding can support.
That is why I joined with our two U.S. Senators and all members of the Tennessee congressional delegation in writing a letter to the President, urging him to include funds for Tennessee in his request for the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010. Tomorrow, the Senate will begin work on this emergency funding legislation. Providing more relief funds for Tennessee is a vital request that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible.
It’s encouraging to see Tennesseans and people across this great nation raise money for disaster relief. Many are also sending supplies and volunteering in communities that have been affected by the flood. There will always be times of challenge; however, the way we respond to those struggles is what makes us great. It’s times like these that make me especially proud to say I am from Tennessee.
Please feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you or your family. You can contact my office by mail, email or phone. Our contact information can be found on our website, www.roe.house.gov.
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