FEMA Chief Joins Aerial Survey of Tennessee

Craig Fugate, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was one of the officials who flew over flooded parts of Tennessee Monday. He says it will be hard to put a dollar value on the damage.

“You know, it’s bad, and my experience tells me that with flood damages, because you’re so focused on response, you’re still going to probably be several days in discovering how bad it is. But we’re not going to wait until everything is counted up. We’re going to act upon the governor’s request that he put in today.”

Governor Phil Bredesen actually handed the paperwork for a federal declaration of disaster status to the regional administrator for FEMA, Phil May. Fugate, the chief in D.C., says the agency will act expeditiously.

Disaster status helps to soften financial damages that follow such a natural event. Fugate says it offers access to not only to FEMA programs but also those from the Small Business Administration.

“That will provide assistance to people who had uninsured losses, but it also brings Small Business Administration disaster loans, and this is going to be really important for the business community, in that the FEMA grant programs only are for individuals, if that’s approved, but the small Business Administration disaster loans provide low-interest loans both for homeowners and for businesses impacted in this flood.”

The FEMA boss says he saw many industrial areas hit by the severe flooding on his flight in from the western part of the state.

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