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DeKalb to receive disaster relief from FEMA
tornado damage w L
Workers clean up debris from the recent tornado in the Falling Water Road area of the Johnsons Chapel community. FEMA aid has been approved for 10 Tennessee counties, including DeKalb. - photo by Photo by: Reed Vanderpool
DeKalb County has been declared a disaster area by President Barack Obama two weeks after tornadoes took one life and damaged more than 100 homes locally.Obama has issued a major disaster declaration for 10 Tennessee counties, triggering the release of federal relief funds for assistance in DeKalb, Bradley, Claiborne, Cumberland, Hamilton, Jackson, McMinn, Monroe, Overton and Polk counties in the aftermath of storm damage caused between Feb. 29 and March 2.The aid will supplement state and local recovery efforts.Available assistance may include grants for temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans to help cover uninsured property losses, as well as other programs designed to assist homeowners and business owners to recovery.FEMA Public Information Officer Gene Kauffman told the Review Monday that residents with damage from the storm are encouraged to file for assistance whether they were insured or not.“We are urging people to register whether they have insurance, or if they don’t have insurance, they still should register for assistance and see if they qualify.“Even people who have insurance can possibly get some help if not everything is covered that was lost,” Kauffman said of the program.Although the agency will initially be based in Cookeville because of Putnam County’s central location, Kauffman said the a local FEMA office may eventually be opened.“In the future we may have a disaster recovery center opening up in Smithville so we can have people actually come in and sit down and talk to a FEMA representative, as well as representatives from the Small Business Administration,” he noted.In a statement released Saturday, Governor Bill Haslam voiced his appreciation for the quick response to his request for a major disaster declaration at from the federal government.“My goal is always to make sure we get the needed assistance to as many families as possible,” said Haslam. “I’m very pleased the federal government has taken this step to provide needed relief to those individuals and families impacted by these storms.”Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker also released statements Saturday expressing their appreciation to the president’s office for the speedy response to the state’s dilemma. Both senators, along with Reps.