Martha SparksSociety Editor
July 24, 2012
CHARLESTON — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Monday that his July 17th request for a federal disaster declaration has been granted by the federal government. The declaration will provide assistance with the ongoing recovery and repair efforts in West Virginia following last month’s severe storms and straight-line winds.
“These federal funds will provide the much needed financial assistance to our state agencies, counties, cities, towns and public service districts for emergency work and repair of storm damaged facilities,” said Gov. Tomblin. “My thanks to Senators Rockefeller and Manchin and Congressman Rahall for their support of my request and their ongoing commitment to the people of West Virginia.”
Two types of funding will be available under the federal disaster declaration. The declaration provides assistance for emergency work and the repair or replacement of public facilities damaged in the June 29 to July 1, 2012 storms.
The following 45 counties are eligible to receive the federal public assistance funding: Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Grant, Greenbrier, Hardy, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Kanawha, Lewis, Lincoln, Logan, Marshall, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Monroe, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pleasants, Pocahontas, Preston, Putnam, Raleigh, Randolph, Ritchie, Roane, Summers, Tucker, Tyler, Upshur, Wayne, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt, Wood and Wyoming Counties.
Hazard Mitigation grants are also available with today’s declaration. All counties are eligible to apply for this financial assistance for actions taken to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.
“We are grateful to FEMA for quickly aiding our staff, county and local responders from across the state. We worked together to meet the needs of our constituents during this unprecedented emergency,” said Jimmy Gianato, Director of West Virginia’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
“This is great news for too many West Virginia families and communities that are still struggling to recover after the storms a few weeks ago,” said Senator Jay Rockefeller (D- W.Va.). “Now they will get much of the assistance they need to get back on their feet, and we can also rebuild buildings and roads in towns that were seriously damaged. I’m glad the President and FEMA agreed that this designation is critical for the state as the past few weeks have been hard on many families who are trying to regain some normalcy in their lives. Hopefully this will make that possible.”
“West Virginians are some of the most resilient people in the world, but the massive storms late last month took a tremendous toll on our state,” Senator Manchin said. “I’m pleased that the President quickly granted this disaster declaration, and I look forward to helping our communities as they work to rebuild our public infrastructure,” said U.S. Senator Joe Manchin.
“The President’s disaster declaration will help to get the ball rolling toward recovery, and I welcome the Federal aid for emergency work and repair of our State’s public facilities and critical services, as well as for implementing long-term hazard mitigation measures to reduce the impact of future storms,” said U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.). “Our disaster recovery and assessment experts did double duty assessing damage while speeding recovery work. I commend Governor Tomblin and his team and I was pleased to work with them in pressing FEMA and the President to act quickly.”
Rahall, who serves as the Ranking Member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee with jurisdiction over FEMA, has been working to facilitate the State of West Virginia’s request, meeting earlier this month at the White House with the President about the needs of West Virginia residents and businesses and urging expeditious action on any State disaster request.
“I will continue to support the State’s efforts to secure FEMA assistance to help families and households. To that end, I invited West Virginia Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Jimmy Gianato to testify at a hearing slated for today before my Committee. His unique perspective will be most valuable as the Congress looks at long-range measures to help protect communities from future disasters. Also appearing today will be a representative of FEMA and I look forward to the chance to share with him my own insights about the devastation experienced by our families and businesses and to make the case for full and expeditious delivery of Federal disaster aid,” said Rahall.
State and federal emergency management officials continue assessing storm damage throughout the state. Tomblin will also request individual assistance from the federal government once all assessments have been completed.