Assistant Commerce Secretary surveys Millington damage

By Lori Brown - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The White House sent US Assistant Commerce Secretary John Fernandez to Millington today to talk about recovery efforts.

Fernandez got a look at the damage on a driving tour of Millington.

"You see all of the personal belongings on a curb to be picked up and swept away," Fernandez said.  "That has an impact on people."

In Millington, the damage goes on for blocks.  People are having to replace nearly everything they owned.

"It's important for us to really internalize the human nature of what's going on here," Fernandez said.

Emergency Management Agency Director Bob Nations told Fernandez during a slide show that 13 inches of rain fell in a short period of time and strained the infrastructure in Shelby County.  

The Emergency Management Agency estimates there is at least $40 million in damage in Shelby Count, the majority of it in Millington.

Business owners such as Regina Jefferson of Jefferson Mortuary told Fernandez that their livelihoods were at stake.

"It's financially destroying," Jefferson said.  "Even if you have a few funds available, you still don't have the funds to replace all the things that you've lost."

Millington Alderman Don Lowry became emotional when talking about his family's loss at the apartment and townhome complex they own.

"It's my family business," Lowry said.  "That's our livelihood, that's how we feed our families."

About 200 of the complex's 320 apartments were flooded.

Fernandez's message to homeowners and business owners was to register with FEMA.  Until they register, the government essentially cannot see them.

To register with FEMA, call 1-800-621-FEMA or click here to visit their website.

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