Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today visited Nashville, Tenn., to meet with Governor Phil Bredesen and federal, state and local officials to discuss the impact of historic flooding and view firsthand the response and recovery efforts ongoing in the state.
"DHS and the entire federal government will do everything possible to support the people of Tennessee and across the Southeast in getting back on their feet quickly - coordinated every step of the way with our state and local partners," said Secretary Napolitano.
Secretary Napolitano, Governor Bredesen and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate-who was on his second trip to Tennessee since the flooding began-took a walking tour of Nashville's Bordeaux district, which suffered major damage during last weekend's flooding.
Secretary Napolitano also toured the Bellevue Recreation Center, where "Hands On Nashville"-a local volunteer organization-is working to assist residents whose homes have been affected by flooding, including helping them request FEMA assistance. She was joined by Governor Bredesen, Sen. Lamar Alexander, U.S. Representative Jim Cooper and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean at the center, where they greeted volunteers and affected residents.
She also visited an American Red Cross blood drive hosted by the Tennessee Titans, which announced yesterday that they were joining the National Football League and the NFL Players Association in donating $400,000 to support flood relief efforts. Secretary Napolitano thanked the Titans organization for their support in helping the region rebuild.
Throughout the day, Secretary Napolitano highlighted FEMA's support for state and local first responders and the citizens of Tennessee-including the vital federal funding now available to eligible individuals and families for assistance with temporary housing, home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other included costs.
More than 16,200 Tennessee individuals and families have registered for FEMA assistance. As of this morning, more than $4.1 million in FEMA total individual assistance has been approved-including more than $3.8 million in housing assistance (e.g. rental assistance, home repair assistance) and more than $300,000 in other needs (e.g. personal property). 650 inspections have been completed.
Families that have been impacted by the floods, and need assistance, should call FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or visit DisasterAssistance.gov, and continue to follow the instructions of local officials in the meantime.
The Obama administration has been deeply involved in response and recovery efforts since before the storms hit. Last Saturday, FEMA was on the ground in Tennessee and by Monday President Obama and Secretary Napolitano had personally spoken to Governor Bredesen and dispatched Administrator Fugate to Tennessee. On Tuesday, the President approved a federal disaster declaration for Tennessee that includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster in the impacted counties.
For more information, visit www.disasterassistance.gov.