NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- This time of year, many are reflecting on the devastation created by the rising floodwaters of May. While most disaster survivors are eager to put 2010 behind them, FEMA is encouraging all Tennesseans to “Resolve to be Ready” for when another disaster strikes.
“While no one wants to re-live what happened in Tennessee due to the flooding, this time of reflection serves as a powerful reminder,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Gracia Szczech. “It's everyone's personal responsibility to be ready for a future flood or other disaster.”
Since May, FEMA has provided almost a quarter-billion dollars in response and recovery programs in Tennessee for disaster survivors and communities in the 54 designated counties from two federal disaster declarations.
To date, FEMA has provided more than $166 million to individuals for grants to help with temporary housing needs as well as losses of essential personal property and disaster-related medical expenses. The U.S. Small Business Administration provided more than $178 million in low-interest loans to repair or replace damaged property for renters, homeowners and businesses of all sizes.
More than $55 million has been provided through the FEMA Public Assistance program. These grants support community rebuilding by providing state and local governments and certain non-profits with reimbursement funds to offset costs associated with debris removal, road repairs, bridge replacements and other projects.
One specific example of a FEMA Public Assistance project is the restoration of Lighthouse School. The non-profit school in Antioch garnered national attention after a modular classroom was captured on video floating down an interstate in the height of the floods. FEMA has identified close to a quarter of a million dollars in eligible projects currently in process for reimbursement. These projects include the replacement of four modular classrooms, a parking lot and sidewalk, recreation fields and equipment, school supplies, books and furniture.
Recovery managers credit partnership as the driving force behind Tennessee's recovery and recognize that FEMA is only part of our nation's emergency management team. Other federal partners, state and local governments, non-profit and voluntary organizations, and the private sector are all key players – but the most important is the public.
This holiday season, FEMA is asking the public to make a resolution that is easy to keep – and could save lives. For 2011, resolve to be ready for emergencies by taking simple steps to prepare your family, your home, your business, and your community for a disaster. There are simple steps you can take to be ready for emergencies: Get a kit, make a plan and be informed. Learn more at www.ready.gov.
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FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.