W. Va. Gov. Seeks Federal Disaster Declaration

June 7, 2004

Gov. Bob Wise has sent a letter to President Bush asking for a major disaster declaration for 24 West Virginia counties following floods that caused significant damage during the Memorial Day weekend.

“These counties were hit hard by our recent storms and flooding. Many of these West Virginians lost everything; some have been flooded several times.” Wise said. “Our goal is to get assistance as quickly as possible to our counties and our citizens. We’ve got to do whatever it takes to recover, and let people know that help is coming.”

Wise asked for a disaster declaration for Braxton, Kanawha, Logan, Mingo, Putnam, Roane and Wyoming counties. Such a declaration would include contiguous counties, making the following eligible: Boone, Cabell, Calhoun, Clay, Fayette, Gilmer, Jackson, Lewis, Lincoln, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Nicholas, Raleigh, Wayne, Webster and Wirt.

The initial assessments seek to make Individual Assistance grants available to West Virginia residents. Individual Assistance money would be available because of an agreement between the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The agreement calls for FEMA to offer 75 percent of the flood relief funding, with the state providing a 25 percent match.

Wise also announced that last Friday morning a joint FEMA-state assessment of damage to roads, publicly-owned bridges and other government property in flooded regions had begun. These assessments could produce Public Assistance funds.

Public Assistance provides aid to state, county and city governments for the repair, replacement, or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities. This money could be used to repair roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, fire departments and utilities, and the facilities of certain private non-profit organizations.

“I would like to assure everyone that assessments of damage to homes and businesses is continuing, especially in Mingo and Logan counties, where the severity of the damage has made assessment difficult,” Wise added.

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