Atlanta, GA -- The tornadoes that ripped through 20 Tennessee counties a year ago this week triggered federal assistance that now adds up to $16,836,138. As Americans celebrate Veteran's Day this year, we remember the devastation that occurred at this time last year and realize we all must be ever vigilant.
A summary of assistance shows the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):
- Provided $741,924 to 338 homeowners and renters (average $2,195 each) from FEMA's Housing Assistance program that provides money for repairs and rental assistance.
- Granted $1,127,064 to 212 households (average $5,316 each) to cover other needs related to the disaster, such as funeral and dental expenses resulting from the disaster, loss of personal property and transportation. Both the Housing Assistance and Other Needs Assistance programs are administered by FEMA.
- Reimbursed the state and local governments $3,211,147 in Public Assistance program funding for repair, replacement or clean up of damaged infrastructure. Most of this was for municipal utilities, the removal of debris from rights-of-way, and overtime costs for emergency personnel. The figure represents 75 percent of the overall cost.
- Allotted $14,203 for disaster unemployment assistance for those whose jobs were temporarily interrupted or wiped out by the storm.
- Altogether, FEMA contributed a total of $ 5,094,338 from its programs to help storm victims - individuals and families, governmental and certain private non-profit agencies.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which partners with FEMA on post-disaster recovery efforts, made $11,741,800 in low-interest loans (with rates as low as 2.937 percent) to 249 homeowners, renters and business that suffered damage and were not fully compensated by insurance.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.