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News ID: 49999
Publish Date: 11:09 - 30 December 2020
Wednesday, 30 December 2020_Tennessee elected officials have asked US President Donald Trump for federal assistance in the wake of Friday's downtown bombing, but five days later the White House has yet to issue an emergency declaration.

FEMA assistance still pending as criminal investigation locks down Nashville bomb siteThe Federal Emergency Management Agency says that's not unusual.

"We have received Governor Lee’s request for an emergency declaration," a FEMA spokesperson said in an email. "The request is currently under review."

Gov. Bill Lee on Saturday requested assistance for Nashville, asking FEMA to help with debris removal and emergency protective measures. The request was made through the Public Assistance program, under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

Although the White House and FEMA approved a disaster declaration two days after the March 3 tornado, a similar designation wasn't made for the areas until July 10 after flooding on May 3-4.

Assessments pending criminal investigation

Mayor John Cooper said Second Avenue will look like a construction site in the months to come. He said checking the structural integrity of buildings was the first step in the process. One building collapsed.

At least 41 businesses in the area were damaged in connection to the explosion.

Metro Nashville Codes Department spokesman Eben Cathey said inspectors will be dispatched quickly once federal law enforcement concludes its investigation and turns control of the area back over to the city.

Inspectors then will assess buildings according to FEMA categories: destroyed, major damage, minor damage and unaffected. After a building is categorized, building owners can begin working with engineers on the next steps of cleanup and construction.

The president can declare an emergency for any occasion when federal assistance is needed, for funds up to $5 million.

The declarations help provide emergency services to protect lives, property, public health and safety, or to lessen the threat of a catastrophe.

Under an emergency declaration, federal resources can help with debris removal and emergency protective measures, according to FEMA publications. An emergency declaration also allows the launch of a local Individuals and Households Program (IHP), which provides financial and direct services to people affected by a disaster who have uninsured or underinsured necessary expenses and serious needs.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., visited the site on Monday and met with law enforcement officials. She said they discussed the federal resources needed to investigate and rebuild.

FEMA will assess the need for a disaster declaration on a variety of factors, including the estimated cost, the concentration of the impact, insurance in place, hazards that were mitigated and the number of recent disasters, the agency's website says.

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