Two weeks after bands of tornadoes wrecked portions of Tennessee and Hamilton County, President Barack Obama has issued a "major disaster" declaration for the state, triggering the release of federal relief funds.Â
Over a three-day span, the storms took three lives and destroyed more than 100 homes, including 82 in Hamilton County.
Along with Hamilton, the federal government will provide individual assistance to victims in Bradley, Claiborne, Cumberland, DeKalb, Jackson, McMinn, Monroe, Overton and Polk counties.Â
The declaration, requested by Gov. Bill Haslam and supported by numerous elected officials, will offer grants for assistance in the forms of temporary housing, home repairs and low-cost loans for victims affected by the storms. Those who experienced damages can begin applying for assistance from FEMA online or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA.
In a news release, Haslam said he was pleased that his request for aid had been granted.
"My goal is to always make sure we get the needed assistance to as many families as possible," Haslam said. "I'm very pleased the federal government has taken this step to provide relief to those individuals and families impacted by these storms."
Tennessee's senators also issued statements commenting on the federal disaster declaration. Sen. Lamar Alexander said he was "pleased" at the president's response.
"This federal support won't make anyone whole, but it will help people and businesses get back on their feet," Alexander said.
Sen. Bob Corker added a similar thought.
"As communities continue to repair and rebuild, I hope this assistance will help Tennesseans in need," he said.Â
On March 15, both senators, along with Reps. John J. Duncan, Scott DesJarlais, Diane Black and Chuck Fleischmann, sent a letter to the president in support of Haslam's request that a major disaster declaration be issued.