TN qualifies for federal aid; FEMA to begin damage survey

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Twenty-six thousand in Memphis are still without power and air conditioning five days after a powerful storm.

But help from the government could be on the way... eventually.

The city of Memphis is slowly returning to a state of normalcy, but there's still a lot of work and clean up left.

City, county, and state leaders are hoping federal aid will offset the millions of dollars in cost after the storm.

With thousands still in the dark and crews working around the clock to restore power to the city of Memphis, federal help could be on the way.

"That'll be good down the road, but today we just have to keep plugging along because it's not like they are going to give us a check tomorrow," said Dale Lane, Director of Office of Preparedness in Shelby County.

It's estimated that the city's infrastructure received over three million dollars of damage. The entire state received more than $9 million in damage, which meets the criteria to apply for a declaration of disaster.

"Based on the figures that we are seeing, that's why we are asking for the joint PDA because we think it will meet the criteria," said TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan.

That joint damage assessment with FEMA is expected to happen soon, which is when they will survey the destruction to the city.

It's possible storm victims still suffering in frustration in their destroyed homes may be able to receive federal aid too. To qualify, the county must have 100 homes damaged from the storm that were not insured or under insured.

"We are going to do everything that we can to get as much assistance for our community as we can," Lane said.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland encouraged storm victims to take advantage of city and county resources to help them now, like calling the Office of Emergency Management.

"The citizens don't need to be waiting for the declaration for money to come pouring in because it's not going to happen that quickly," Strickland said.

To give you some perspective, the county is still getting reimbursement from the 2011 flooding.

Ultimately, it'll be up to President Donald Trump to determine if Memphis qualifies for federal help. Governor Bill Haslam will send the request to the president

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