West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced on Tuesday that his request for federal disaster declaration has been granted. The declaration will allow for federal funding to come to the Mountain State to assist with the ongoing recovery and repair efforts following the sever storms that ripped through the state on June 29.
"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," Tomblin said in a prepared statement. "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."
Funding will provide assistance for emergency work and the repair or replacement of public facilities damaged in the storms from June 29 to July 1. Counties eligible to receive the federal public assistance funding are 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.
Randolph County Office of Emergency Management Director Marvin Hill said that FEMA came to the county after the storm rolled through to assist with damage assessments.
"We met the threshold. If we turn in the paperwork, we can be reimbursed," Hill said. "We are taking phone calls from property owners and keeping a list of all the damage."
To qualify for the funding, Hill said there has to be at least $100,000 worth of damage.
Although Hill said he is yet unsure of estimated damages in Randolph County, he explained that most of it was incurred at infrastructure facilities including the county's public service districts and the Elkins-Randolph County Regional Airport.
Hill said he traveled throughout the county with a representative from FEMA and worked on the overall estimate of damage.
"We worked hard to get the totals together, but FEMA did not provide the exact amount," Hill said.
He said he is unsure if personal property will be covered by the federal funding.
"FEMA is recommending residents to turn personal property damage into their home owner's insurance," Hill said.
According to the governor's statement, Hazard Mitigation grants also are available with the 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," Director of West Virginia's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Jimmy Gianato said in a news release.
According to the release, state and federal emergency management officials continue assessing storm damage throughout the state and Tomblin also will request individual assistance from the federal government once all assessments have been completed.