JACKSON, Tenn. -- Five weeks after the last of two tornado outbreaks savaged parts of 15 Tennessee counties, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to work with state and local agencies in Tennessee to assist victims of April's tornadoes and severe storms.
- To date, 1,884 Tennessee households and businesses have registered for disaster assistance and FEMA has disbursed $1,275,350 in federal grants through its Individuals and Households (IHP) programs.
- Of the federal funds distributed by FEMA in Tennessee, $688,903 has gone to applicants for rental assistance and for housing repairs not covered by insurance.
- The remaining $586,447 has been disbursed for Other Needs Assistance, which includes medical and funeral expenses, replacement of personal possessions and other uninsured losses.
- 1,288 storm victims visited Disaster Recovery Centers where they received help from experts in disaster recovery. The centers closed May 5, but help is still available to applicants on the FEMA help line at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or the TTY line for the speech- or hearing-impaired at 1-800-462-7585.
- Free crisis counseling is available to Tennesseans who may be suffering stress, anxiety or depression as a result of the storms. Registration for FEMA disaster assistance is not required to benefit from this program. Referrals for counseling services are available from the State of Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities crisis center help line: 1-800-809-9957.
- Free disaster legal assistance also is offered to storm victims through an arrangement with the Young Lawyers Division of the Tennessee Bar Association. For help with disaster-related legal issues, call the Tennessee Bar Association at 1-866-336-8276. The speech- or hearing-impaired may call FEMA's TTY line, 1-800-462-7585.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has customer service centers open in Trenton and Gallatin. The Trenton center is in the old Health Center at 200 East Eaton Street. The Gallatin center is at the city Public Utility Building, 239 Hancock Street. Both facilities will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until further notice. The SBA also offers assistance, toll-free, at 1-800-659-2955.
- Tennesseans have until June 5 to register for disaster assistance at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), at 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the speech- or hearing-impaired, or on the Web at www.fema.gov.
- FEMA urges property owners and builders to consider adding a specially constructed shelter room to both new and existing homes. A safe room is designed to provide a space where you, your family and pets can survive a tornado. According to information on the FEMA Web site, shelters built below ground level provide the greatest safety, but a shelter built in a first-floor interior room can also provide effective protection.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.