May 9th, 2010
12:23 AM ET

Napolitano visits hard-hit flood areas in Tennessee

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano toured flood-ravaged Tennessee on Saturday, traveling with state and local officials to see firsthand the devastating effects the deluge of rainfall had on the state last weekend.

"It's important to see with my own eyes what the impacts were but also to see what the recovery efforts are to make sure that ... we are doing everything we can to link up with the quite impressive effort already under way in Tennessee," Napolitano said.

"I think Tennesseans can be assured that everybody is really focused on this and paying attention, and now we've got to work our way through this," she added.

Last weekend's storm system devastated Tennessee and neighboring states, leaving at least 31 people dead across the Southeast, authorities say. Flooding has caused more than $1.5 billion in property damage in the Nashville area alone, city officials said Friday.

Napolitano said that as of Saturday morning, 16,000 people had requested assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and more than $4 million in federal assistance had been approved for individuals.

She urged flood victims to continue reaching out to FEMA for help.

soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. tjc360

    Where is Sean Penn when we need him?

    May 9, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. govwatcher

    I sympathize with the people of TN – floods are no fun – but tell me again why Homeland Security is visiting a flood zone???

    May 9, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. We Are Nashville

    Govwatcher, Homeland Security is over FEMA. Remember, that changed after Katrina? They are making sure people know how to get assistance. THEY are the most important government agency here for all the people that lost everything to the flooding.

    May 9, 2010 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bob

    gov watcher you ask a good question. I think I like Napolitano more than most people do
    (I think she is a good apple and her two mistakes were Obama's more than hers) but despite that it is curious that she now seems to be the only one in the admin moving around and doing anything. Where was the fema head and all those other people who should be down there now giving people trailers to live in while their houses dry out and sending them drywall, carpeting, furniture to sit on, food and everything?

    The weird rude lack of response is non sensical – more people died down there than in the mines – Obama was living in front of the camera on the mine thing which affected a small group compared to 2 or more states in this case

    It has to be a direct slap in the face to the south or an area he thinks ain't gonna vote for him anyway. Obama should pay a huge political price for this ugly unfairness.

    May 9, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    You might well as dropped a bomb on that beautiful city of nashille and doomed tens of thousands to basic survival for the rest of this year and WHERE IS OBAMA? Is he all cried out after his weepy performance about never letting the Haiti people down?
    It's disgusting that Obama can't execute his duties competently and ALWAYS has to be shamed by the media into the doing the the right thing. It's like babysitting for a problem child.

    May 9, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. SBG

    We don't need Obama, we'll manage just fine thanks. That's something you folks don't get about the south – we take care of our own. We don't look to the all mighty government to make it all better for us.

    May 9, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SBG

    Napolitano probably came here to learn. Our response was immediate. People passing by on one side of the interstate stopped and helped resume people trapped on the other side which was flooded. Our police and fire fighters were doing all they could, and regular people were going around in boats rescuing others from flooded houses. Employees of companies left work to help evacuate neighboring homes before escaping to get to their own families. In neighborhoods that were partially flooded, people who suffered little loss have been cooking 3 times a day for those who lost much. We took in strangers who were trapped here and gave them a warm, dry, safe place to sleep until they could continue on their way (like that would happen in NY).

    This is the backwards, stupid, inbred, hick south that didn't vote for obama. Guess we're not so evil after all.

    Napolitano likely came here to try to understand how we managed to rescue so many people so quickly – we have people safely evacuated from the worst flooded places when the government would still be in committee deciding how many boats to send.

    May 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RTP

    How long did it take for Obama to get these people some help. It is obvious Obama don't like white people. He is the worst president ever.

    May 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chief568

    Ok let's see:

    1. It took them a WEEK to come by, even though Tennessee isn't that far from DC.

    2. I haven't heard Obama declare Tennessee a disaster area yet...nor have I heard of ONE FEMA-related aid worker in Tennessee as yet.

    3. Tennesseeans are taking care of business right now, and have been for about a week.

    4. The BBC have had MORE televised information concerning the flooding than the American media.

    Face it, this is just a PR campaign to show everyone how much this Administration "cares"...when in point of fact, it could care less. I thought President Obama was the President of the United States – ALL of them...but apparently Tennessee isn't as important as others.

    May 9, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dave Althaus

    Maybe she'll do us all a favor and just drown while she is there.

    May 10, 2010 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  11. Keith Bailey

    Well us from Mich. are willing to help My Daughter with the Red Cross was called up sending Grandma 200 miles to watch Three Gandchildren . I am a First Responder ( FF, Special Teams ) Talked with our Homeland Secuity nothing yet. Might head down as Work is slow and 30 years in construction and with a service truck might be able to help.

    May 13, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mary Lee

    Wow, so many of you have no idea of the facts. I live in Nashville. Our governor talked to Obama immediately after the flood, and when Obama offered to visit, he told him he didn't want a presidential visit because it takes too many resources, which were better used to deal with the flooding. Governor Bredesen described the federal response:

    I have to say that FEMA and the White House have been absolutely supportive. Very quickly FEMA was on the ground here before the raindrops started falling…The President was on the phone to me before the sun came up practically on Monday morning. Slightly after it came up, other people from the White House had called and checked in with us and helped…I’ve never seen this kind of a response to things that have happened. We’ve had our share of tornadoes and those kinds of things… I’m very, very pleased with the response we’ve gotten from the administration.

    Since the flood, Obama has had a slew of officials visiting to try to keep the medias attention on this. He has several government agencies on the ground in Nashville, working to set things right. He declared flooded areas disaster areas so they could get emergency funding within days. Nashville government has actually been surprised at how MUCH he has done and how quickly.

    June 2, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
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