Press Releases

Tennessee Members of Congress Urge President to Approve Federal Disaster Assistance for Five Tennessee Counties Affected by Wildfires, Severe Weather

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For Immediate Release, December 10, 2016 | Tiffany Haverly (202-226-8072) | comments
WASHINGTON, D.C.  - Members of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation today urged President Obama to quickly approve Governor Haslam’s request for a major disaster declaration for the State of Tennessee to help five Tennessee counties impacted by wildfires and severe weather in November rebuild and recover.
 
“Governor Bill Haslam has submitted a request for Public Assistance and Individual Assistance for Sevier County, which was affected by wildfires and for Coffee, McMinn, Polk and Sequatchie counties which were affected by severe weather and tornadoes,” the members wrote President Obama in a letter. “We strongly urge you to approve Governor Haslam’s request, and we hope you will consider our State’s request as soon as possible.”
 
The full text of the letter is below and available online here:
 
Dear Mr. President: 
 
On behalf of the State of Tennessee, we are writing to support Governor Bill Haslam’s request to declare a major disaster pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act as a result of the severe wildfires and tornadoes that impacted our state beginning November 28, 2016.
 
Governor Bill Haslam has submitted a request for Public Assistance and Individual Assistance for Sevier County, which was affected by wildfires and for Coffee, McMinn, Polk and Sequatchie counties which were affected by severe weather and tornadoes. We strongly urge you to approve Governor Haslam’s request, and we hope you will consider our State’s request as soon as possible. 
 
The severe wildfires that swept through Sevier County, Tennessee beginning November 28, required the evacuation of over 14,000 residents and visitors and led to 14 fatalities and 134 reported injuries. The wildfires damaged or destroyed over 2,200 homes, businesses and other structures. At its peak, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency estimated that over 1,300 people occupied six Red Cross and independently-operated shelters.  
 
The severe weather that impacted 10 counties in East Tennessee on November 29, produced 5 tornadoes and led to 4 fatalities and 12 reported injuries. The severe weather caused structural damage and downed powerlines throughout East Tennessee, especially in Coffee, McMinn, Polk and Sequatchie counties.  
 
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency since the beginning of these incidents, and we are grateful for their efforts to respond to Tennessee’s needs. Our offices can provide you with any additional information should you have any questions. 
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