TEMA & FEMA continue preliminary damage assessments from February severe weather

Local News
COVER PHOTO_FEMA and TEMA in East Tennessee assessing flood damage_0313_1552512435424.JPG.jpg

Thirty-eight of the 59 counties under review were completed this week as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency worked to assess the severe weather and flood damage from February’s historic rainfall. 

FEMA officials arrived in East Tennessee earlier this week. They were in the Knoxville area on Wednesday and part of Thursday, walking properties with TEMA officials for joint preliminary damage assessements (PDAs).

Tennessee remains under a State of Emergency as some counties across the state are still impacted from flood damage. 

As of Friday afternoon, FEMA now has nine counties under qualification review for the federal Individual Assistance Program. Knox County is one of them, as well as Blount, Decatur, Hamblen, Hardin, Humphreys, Perry, Sevier, and Wayne.  

According to TEMA, FEMA currently has 59 Tennessee counties on its review list for Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs).  

These counties include:  Anderson, Bedford, Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Carter, Cheatham, Claiborne, Clay, Cocke, Coffee, DeKalb, Decatur, Dickson, Dyer, Fentress, Gibson, Giles, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Hawkins, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Lake, Lauderdale, Lewis, Lincoln, Marion, Marshall, McNairy, Moore, Morgan, Obion, Overton, Perry, Rhea, Roane, Rutherford, Scott, Sequatchie, Sevier, Smith, Sumner, Tipton, Unicoi, Union, Van Buren, Warren, Wayne, and Weakley. 

PDAs in the aforementioned 59 counties are considered, “relative to possible federal relief through the Public Assistance Program, which provides reimbursement to local governments for repairs to damaged infrastructure and emergency work related to the disaster.”

FEMA has completed Joint PDAs in 38 counties.

TEMA says there are some key points with the PDAs: 

  • Additional counties will be added to the PDA request as flood waters in other counties recede and local officials can assess and report damages.
  • This does not automatically turn on federal aid funding to Tennessee for this disaster.  It is the next step in the process for requesting a Major Disaster Declaration, and FEMA is simply verifying the damage totals we have so far gathered from the counties where flood waters have receded. 
  • Even if Tennessee eventually receives a Major Disaster Declaration, it does not guarantee Tennesseans impacted by the floods will receive help directly for rebuilding or repairing their homes, nor does it guarantee that every jurisdiction will be eligible for federal assistance.  
  • FEMA Individual Assistance is not a guaranteed program as part of a Major Disaster Declaration from the federal government.
  • The assessments this week and next are a first step to determine whether the scope of damage is beyond what the state is capable of handling as defined in federal law and regulation.

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