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Friday, March 28, 2003 Contact: AoA Press Office
(202) 401-4541

AoA Provides Disaster Relief To Tennessee’s Older
Tornado Victims

Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Aging Josefina G. Carbonell today awarded $30,000 to the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability to reimburse local communities in their recovery efforts following the severe tornado damage that hit in several areas of the state November 9 to 11, 2002. On November 15, 2002, President Bush declared the following 16 counties: Anderson, Bedford, Carroll, Coffee, Crockett, Cumberland, Gibson, Henderson, Madison, Marshall, Montgomery, Morgan, Rutherford, Scott, Sumner and Tipton as eligible for national disaster assistance.

Assistant Secretary Carbonell expressed her commitment to helping the older victims affected by these tornadoes recover. “Many rural seniors living in the paths or vicinity of the tornadoes were devastated by the huge loss of personal property. I am proud of the way our aging network in Tennessee was quickly able to assess critical needs, and provide essential services and personalized assistance to those elderly putting their lives and homes back together,” said Assistant Secretary Carbonell.

Many older persons were severely impacted by the tornadoes, but seniors were especially hard hit in rural Morgan County in East Tennessee, where property damage was the most serious. The individuals receiving assistance ranged in age from 60 to 100 years, and they sustained property damage ranging from minor to a total loss. Supportive services were provided in all the 16 counties affected, but the most serious need was in rural areas, where power outages required emergency food supplies and a number of evacuations. Continuing clean-up efforts, handyman, and transportation services are still in great demand.

The AoA disaster relief funds are needed to provide critical gap-filling services such as case management and advocacy, chore services, legal services, transportation, handyman and other assistance to meet individual needs of elderly persons affected by the severe storms. The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability continues its work with the four local Area Agencies on Aging that serve the 16 counties affected by this disaster to assure that older persons receive the services they need in coping with the aftermath of the tornadoes

For additional information on AoA’s national disaster preparedness and response activities, please contact Irma Tetzloff at (202) 357-3525.