Greeneville, TN, May 2, 2011 -- FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate speaks at a press conference in Greeneville, Tennessee after viewing damage from last Thursday’s tornadoes that ripped through Eastern Tennessee and across the south east part of the country. Behind the Administrator from left to right are Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, State Senator Steve Southerland, U.S. Representative Phil Roe, and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Director Jim Bassham.
Coming on the heels of his trips to Alabama and Mississippi last week (April 28 and April 29) and over the weekend, today Administrator Fugate traveled to Greene County, Tennessee to meet with Governor Bill Haslam, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) Director Jim Bassham, and U.S. Representative Phil Roe to survey damage, meet with state and local officials, and ensure the state is getting the support they need from FEMA and all our federal partners.
Yesterday, President Obama signed a major disaster declaration for Tennessee, which makes federal assistance available to individuals, in declared counties, who suffered personal property damages or losses, and for public infrastructure, such as schools, fire stations and libraries.
Craig joined the Governor in a briefing with TEMA officials to receive the latest update on the state’s response and recovery efforts. Administrator Fugate reiterated that FEMA stands in support of the Governor and will provided any assistance that is needed.
The group then took a walking tour of some of the damage in Greene County, talking with residence and local officials about their experience and what it will take for the county to recovery. Administrator Fugate praised the first-responders, faith-based and non-profit organizations, and especially the public, for their heroic and compassionate actions over the last few days as the community has pulled together to respond and recover from this devastating storm.
He also reiterated that it is important that for individuals and families in the declared counties, including Greene, to register with for assistance – and that there are a number of ways to do that, including:
- Registering at //www.disasterassistance.gov/
- Registering through a web-enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov, or
- Calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
Unfortunately this was not Craig’s first trip to Tennessee following a disaster. Last May, following the massive flood event that struck the entire state, Craig toured Tennessee extensively from Nashville to North of Memphis, meeting with state and local officials, including local emergency managers to ensure that the Governor was receiving all the federal support that was needed.
To better reach disaster survivors from last year’s flooding, we set up a joint Facebook page with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, communicating critical information about the ongoing response and recovery. This joint Facebook page approach was another extension of our constant coordination with the state – and turned out to be a model worth replicating. In response to last week’s southeast tornadoes, we established a joint Facebook page with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency for the same purpose. Check out this blog post for more social media resources for disaster survivors.