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On the Ground, Updating President Obama on the Floods in Tennessee

At the request of the President, I’m in the Memphis area today to meet with local officials and assess the damage from the severe weather and subsequent flooding that swept through this state and other parts of the Southeast this week, and to ensure that all the needs of the state and local governments – as well as communities and individuals – are being met. I met with Governor Phil Bredesen and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean yesterday and reiterated our commitment to bring every federal resource to bear in response to this – as Governor Bredesen described – “unprecedented” storm. FEMA was on the ground from the beginning and is leaning forward to ensure a swift federal response to this disaster.

We’ve been engaged with the affected states since last Saturday when the rain began to fall, and currently have representatives on the ground in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana to measure the damage and provide federal assistance where needed.

On Monday night I met with Governor Bredesen of Tennessee, and on Tuesday, the Governor requested, and the President signed, a federal disaster declaration for the state, standing up federal assistance by way of temporary housing and home repair grants, loans to cover losses from uninsured property, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover. The President signed a similar declaration for Alabama the day before.

To date in Tennessee:
  • 27 counties have been declared as federal disaster areas;
  • Approximately 12,000 individuals have registered for FEMA assistance;
  • FEMA has approved over $1.5 million in federal assistance for housing and other needs.
We’re working to make sure that every request is processed rapidly, and that individuals and business owners in the affected areas have all the information and resources they need to quickly recover from these storms.

I’ll join Secretary Napolitano tomorrow in Nashville, where we’ll meet with state and local officials and receive briefings on the coordinated federal, state, and local response efforts underway.

Individuals who live in the affected area can register for federal assistance by calling the FEMA hotline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or by visiting You can also visit the from your mobile device for more information. We’ve also established a Facebook page to provide quick updates and information on the flood response efforts. You can check that out here.

Individuals should always be prepared for a disaster like this. Visit for information to prepare for the unexpected.

Craig Fugate is the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency
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