FEMA approves Virginia request for derecho aid

FEMA has approved federal disaster assistance for Virginia to help 62 local governments and the state recover from the severe storms and straight-line winds that affected the Commonwealth June 29-July 1.

Gov. Bob McDonnell requested federal aid through FEMA’s Public Assistance program, which reimburses local and state governments on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of damaged facilities.

Under this approval, FEMA’s Public Assistance program is available to the counties of  Albemarle, Alleghany, Amelia, Amherst, Appomattox, Arlington, Augusta, Bath, Bedford, Bland, Botetourt, Buckingham, Campbell, Carroll, Charlotte, Clarke, Craig, Culpeper, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Fauquier, Floyd, Fluvanna, Frederick, Giles, Greene, Halifax, Highland, Louisa, Lunenburg, Madison, Nelson, New Kent, Nottoway, Orange, Page, Pittsylvania, Powhatan, Prince Edward, Pulaski, Rappahannock, Roanoke, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Tazewell and Warren and the cities of Bedford, Charlottesville, Covington, Danville, Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Lexington, Lynchburg, Manassas Park, Martinsville, Radford, Roanoke, Salem, Staunton, and Winchester.

As local and state emergency management officials continue to compile storm damage information, additional local governments may be added for Public Assistance at a later time.

Some costs that are eligible for reimbursement include activation of emergency crews to respond to the storm; opening of cooling centers and shelters; debris removal; repairs to publicly-owned property such as roads, water and sewer systems; and damage to electrical systems.

FEMA also approved Gov. McDonnell’s request for the Hazard Mitigation program for use statewide.  This program provides funds for projects sponsored by state and local governments that help reduce disaster risks by protecting homes and businesses against future damage.

Virginia was not eligible for FEMA’s Individual Assistance program, which provides aid to individuals and families with uninsured losses, because most private property that was damaged was insured.

McDonnell is challenging Virginians to aid recovery efforts by donating to the Virginia Disaster Relief Fund.  Donations are needed because of the many natural disasters that hit Virginia last year and the multiple recovery efforts that are still ongoing because of those events.

“I ask that citizens and businesses continue to lend a helping hand to those in need by donating what you can to the Virginia Disaster Relief Fund. Virginians have been very generous, and their donations so far have helped more than 220 households that suffered earlier disasters put their lives back together.  More work remains, and I ask each Virginian to do what you can to help,” said McDonnell.  “I salute all those who have been heavily involved in disaster assistance throughout the Commonwealth for more than a year now – the many volunteers and voluntary organizations as well as local and state agencies and governments.  It truly takes everyone working together to help our families and communities recover from disasters.”

In response to previous disasters, more than $1.4 million has been distributed by the Virginia Disaster Relief Fund to volunteer and recovery groups in 15 localities that have been directly assisting disaster survivors.  The fund has helped people recover from the April 2011 tornadoes, the August 2011 earthquake, Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and several other smaller events.  The fund may help pay for home repairs, rental assistance, transportation and the purchase of household items

To donate, go to www.disasterfund.virginia.gov

The Virginia Disaster Relief Fund was established by Governor McDonnell in 2011 to financially help Virginia residents who are impacted by disasters.  It is a fund of “last resort” if other state, federal and private aid is not available to assist victims of disasters.  Funds are not distributed directly to individuals or families, but to volunteer and disaster recovery groups that are directly assisting disaster survivors.

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