In a call with the media Thursday morning, Sen. Mark Warner responded to severe flooding in Buchanan County, Va. on Tuesday.
Warner said just a year ago flooding occurred in Hurley, also in Buchanan County, and he recalled when he had just become governor of Virginia in 2002 that the county was also the victim of flooding.
“I stand ready to do anything and everything I can to make sure once the governor makes a request for federal assistance, we will back that up,” Warner said. He expressed disappointment that flooding in Hurley did not receive federal funding.
Warner said that 800 homes and businesses were affected by the flooding and while previous media reports said 40 people remained missing Thursday morning, only three are missing now.
Warner said that Buchanan County has his commitment to get on the phone to the White House and FEMA, and request assistance. He said the delay in aid to rural communities like Buchanan are the result of what he thinks is a bias in the funding formula against small communities.
“We’re going to make a united front, the governor and I and the balance of the congressional delegation,” Warner said of getting FEMA to respond to Buchanan County. The governor has to request data from FEMA, and Warner said it is necessary to review FEMA’s funding for small communities because FEMA does not give funding for disasters unless they hit a certain dollar amount.
“That’s a bias against rural communities,” Warner said, who may not require a large amount of aid but some federal aid would be appropriate.