Dresden still awaits federal tornado recovery assistance

DRESDEN, Tenn. – In a city that suffered widespread destruction from December’s tornadoes, residents and leaders all have one question: why hasn’t FEMA declared it a disaster?

“It’s the valid question, that people are asking, ‘Where is FEMA,’ and we hope that very soon FEMA will be there to help us with this cleanup and recovery,” said Mayor Jeff Washburn.

Washburn says he believes the reason FEMA is delaying declaring the area a disaster is because the town did not lose any lives.

“Kentucky had multiple deaths, several dozen deaths, and almost immediately got a disaster declaration because of it,” Washburn said. “Here in Dresden and Weakley County, we had no deaths, which was a blessing for our community, but it doesn’t necessarily get the attention like Mayfield, Kentucky.”

Shortly after the tornado struck Dresden, leaders requested federal assistance. Mayor Washburn says it normally takes up to four weeks and they just passed that date.

“So we are on schedule. FEMA has asked us for additional information to provide and we are working diligently to provide them with all the information they need.

Once FEMA reviews the damage data, it can move forward, cleanup can begin, and financial assistance can be provided to residents. According to Washburn, this is something that is long overdue and badly needed.

“Rebuild their homes. It will help rebuild the businesses that were destroyed, help us rebuild our town hall and our fire and police department. It’s going to get us back on our feet and running like a city.

Mayor Washburn says that once FEMA begins cleanup if it were to declare the city a disaster, he says it could take up to two years to get the city back to normal, or even better than before.

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