The announcement will release federal funds to assist individuals and entire communities affected in Logan, Mingo, McDowell and Wyoming counties in southern West Virginia.
Gov. Joe Manchin also announced the disaster declaration yesterday evening. Gov. Manchin submitted a federal disaster declaration request for assistance on June 17, just five days after the flash flooding washed through the coalfields.
Several areas in Logan County were hit hard, including Madison Creek, Holden, Mount Gay, South Man and Switzer, among other communities. A report yesterday said 167 homes were destroyed or severely damaged in Logan County.
On June 12, more than four inches of rain in a short period of time. Madison Creek residents were stranded for several days and several homes at Holden were nearly destroyed. At Mount Gay, Valley Market and Dairy Delight were hit with heavy flooding again. This was the 24th flood for Valley Market, according to co-owner Bernie Sidebottom. The Taplin Freewill Baptist Church, which had stood for several decades, slid off the hillside.
"The heavy flooding and mudslides from the extreme heavy rains have devastated many family homes and entire communities in our region. This federal declaration could not come soon enough," Rahall said in a press release issued Thursday. "The Federal Disaster Declaration allows families to have access to federal resources and begin to put their lives back together and get the assistance they need."
Individual assistance funds will be made available to Logan, Mingo, McDowell and Wyoming counties. Public assistance funding will also be made available to these counties which means that state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations can apply for funds for emergency work and to repair or replace disaster-damaged facilities.
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) commended the Obama Administration for issuing the major disaster declaration for the four counties and for ordering federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas damaged from the severe storms and flooding.
“I applaud the Obama Administration’s quick action issuing a major disaster declaration for some of West Virginia’s hardest hit areas.," Rockefeller said in a press release issued Thursday. "These funds are very much needed and will enable communities to rebuild and move forward. My deepest gratitude goes to our first responders, National Guard, FEMA workers, and all West Virginians helping to bring aid and assistance to the stricken areas.”
Rockefeller said in his press release that he sent a letter to the president urging him to recognize Gov. Manchin’s disaster declaration request.
U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., today applauded the Obama Administration’s swift approval of the State of West Virginia’s request for a major federal disaster declaration.
Byrd joined West Virginia Gov. Manchin in writing letters to Pres. Obama and Patricia Arcuri, the acting regional administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Region III, requesting the disaster declaration.
Byrd, who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, which has budgetary jurisdiction over the Federal Emergency Management Agency, welcomed the response from the Obama Administration noting that, “I applaud the Obama Administration’s swift response to West Virginia’s request for this disaster declaration. West Virginia has sustained multiple federal disasters within the past several months. Many of the victims of this most recent tragedy were still recovering from prior severe weather events. This Federal assistance is justified, and I am hopeful that the impacted individuals will begin to apply for assistance as soon as possible as they work to restore their homes and their livelihoods.”
All counties in the state are eligible to apply for assistance under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural hazards.
Housing assistance can include money to rent a different place to live or pay for temporary housing if rental properties are not available. This funding may also pay for repairs for eligible homeowners and may include up to $29,900 for home repairs, which can include:
√ Structural parts of a home (foundation, outside walls and roof)
√ Windows, doors, floors, walls, ceilings and cabinetry
√ Septic or sewage systems
√ Well or other water systems
√ Heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems
√ Utilities (electrical, plumbing and gas systems)
√ Entrance and exit ways from the home, including privately-owned access roads
√ Blocking, leveling and anchoring of a mobile home and reconnecting or resetting its sewer, water, electrical and fuel lines and tanks
Finally, in extremely rare circumstances, funds can go toward home replacement or funding may be provided for the construction of a home. This type of assistance occurs only in very unusual situations in locations specified by FEMA, where no other type of housing assistance is possible. It should be noted that flood insurance may be required if the home is in a Special Flood Hazard Area.
Flood victims in Logan, Mingo, McDowell and Wyoming counties are eligible to apply for individual assistance, which can include temporary housing assistance, rental assistance and repair assistance. Flood victims are encouraged to register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or (800) 462-7585 for individuals with speech or hearing disabilities. Flood victims with internet access may apply for disaster assistance online at www.disasterassistance.gov.