Additional Aid, Other Counties May be Awarded as Damage Assessments Continue
Nashville, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced this evening Sevier County will receive federal aid assistance through a Presidential Disaster Declaration as the county begins its recovery from the devastating wildfires of Nov. 28, 2016.
“This deadly wildfire required a coordinated response from many individuals and organizations,” Haslam said. “The outpouring of care, relief, and support from around the world for Sevier County and its people has been extraordinary. This assistance from the federal government will help relieve some of the financial burden of this disaster on Tennesseans and Sevier County.”
In his federal disaster assistance request of President Obama on Dec. 9, 2016, Gov. Haslam also asked for the disaster declaration to include four counties – Coffee, McMinn, Polk, and Sequatchie – hit with severe weather and tornadoes on Nov. 29, 2016.
FEMA’s disaster declaration this evening indicated the awarding of any additional aid types or inclusion of other jurisdictions will be contingent on further joint preliminary damage assessments.
Through the Presidential Disaster Declaration, designated as FEMA-4293-DR, Sevier County is eligible for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individual Assistance and Public Assistance programs.
The Individual Assistance program provides financial help or direct services to disaster survivors who have eligible expenses and serious needs, if they cannot meet those needs through other means. More information on FEMA’s Individual Assistance program is at: https://www.fema.gov/individual-disaster-assistance.
FEMA’s Public Assistance program will allow Sevier County government entities and certain private non-profits to apply for reimbursement of specific, eligible expenses for debris removal and emergency protective measures. More information on FEMA’s Public Assistance program is at: https://www.fema.gov/public-assistance-local-state-tribal-and-non-profit.
On Nov. 28, wildfires rapidly spread through Sevier County, causing mandatory evacuations of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The wildfires caused 14 fatalities and damaged or destroyed more than 2,400 structures in Sevier County. Storms and tornadoes on Nov. 29, 2016, caused two fatalities, and damaged or destroyed numerous structures throughout southeast Tennessee.
About the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency: TEMA’s mission is to coordinate preparedness, response and recovery from man-made, natural and technological hazards in a professional and efficient manner in concert with our stakeholders. Follow TEMA on Facebook, TNDisasterInfo, on Twitter, @T_E_M_A, and at www.tnema.org.