Clean-up continues as officials begin discussing long-term recovery
By Josh Kastrinsky
Nine days after the waters of the Cumberland River reached their highest point in this month’s flooding disaster in Nashville, Tenn., Middle Tennessee continues to face a slow recovery as 42 counties have been named federal disaster areas.
Various local media report that, that number is unchanged since Saturday, though Gov. Phil Bredesen last week announced he would seek the designation for a total of 52 counties. Statewide, 23 people are known to have died in connection with floods over the last 10 days. About 13 inches of rain fell between Friday, April 30, and Sunday, May 2, across Middle Tennessee, raising the Cumberland River over its banks in downtown Nashville and caused many smaller rivers and streams to flood neighboring communities.
As of Tuesday, 23,000 people in the region have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for disaster relief, with many more expected in the coming weeks. About $46 million in FEMA Individual Assistance has been approved, and about 8,500 inspections have been completed. Officials estimate more than $1.5 billion in damage for the region.
Statewide, six Disaster Recovery Areas are being operated by the state of Tennessee, located in Dyer, Shelby, Cheatham, Williamson, Hickman and Davidson counties.
Residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). In general, FEMA reports people should begin receiving assistance 5-10 days after completing the application.
P!N ally Kenny Chesney, whose Nashville-area home was among those flooded this week, was among the musicians interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper last week, as Cooper reported from the scene.
Figures for the number of families displaced by the flooding were difficult to gauge, but a Thursday update from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) reported that close to 450 are still in 11 public shelters. At one point last week, 1,300 were staying in public shelters.
Late last week, as many as 12 area water systems were under boil water orders. This week, Davidson and Williamson counties, in metropolitan Nashville, are still under mandatory conservation orders after one of Nashville’s two major water treatment plants was flooded out.
Click here for last week’s White House briefing involving Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Tennessee Gov. Bredesen.
According to TEMA, a state of emergency declared May 1 will continue statewide for 60 days. For more updates, visit www.tnema.org.