By JON STYF
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in Tennessee on Tuesday after tornadoes that hit the state overnight Friday left four residents dead.
Gov. Bill Lee asked President Biden on Monday for the declaration to provide assistance for residents of Cheatham, Decatur, Dickson, Dyer, Gibson, Lake, Obion, Stewart and Weakley counties.
The emergency declaration allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to lead disaster recovery efforts while trying to save lives and provide emergency and recovery services.
“FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency,” a White House press release said. “Emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.”
Gov. Lee also signed an executive order Monday to help in the state’s recovery.
The order, stating that a major disaster and emergency exist, removes many restrictions to allow for quicker relief efforts, including suspending restrictions on what vehicles can be used in recovery efforts, allowing more individuals the ability to participate in storm cleanup, speeding up special transportation permits, giving commercial drivers an emergency exception to federal rules and waiving residency requirements for those handling nutrition and child well-being programs.