As the Mountain Messenger goes to press just two weeks after flash floods and a rising river devastated our towns and neighborhoods, many disaster relief organizations are operating and availing themselves to stricken communities around the county.
Approximately 350 homes have been damaged or destroyed throughout the county, and 35 businesses damaged or destroyed with a total of approximately 1,030 people displaced as a result of this flooding event. Three shelters continue to host 531 displaced persons, including 406 at The Greenbrier. Many citizens have returned to their homes or are staying with friends and family.
Greenbrier County Emergency Management Agency has hired a debris contractor and plans to open a central supply hub to support local distribution points. Citizens do not need to call the Emergency Operations Center or the emergency manager to have their debris picked up.
Rainelle/Rupert are at 80 percent operational for sewage, Alderson and White Sulphur Springs are at 100 percent and Ronceverte is also 100 percent operational. White Sulphur Springs has water to 50 percent of the town, while Alderson, Lewisburg, Rupert, Ronceverte and Renick have been restored. The Quinwood water treatment plant is still not fully operational.
White Sulphur Springs City Council voted to hire Disaster Solutions, a consulting firm, to a short-term contract to help the Spa City through the recovery efforts ahead. The same firm was hired by The Greenbrier to help the temporarily closed resort and had “loaned” the firm to the city for an assessment of the recovery efforts needed there.
According to the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, these are the latest facts and figures on the flooding which occurred on Thursday, June 23, in Greenbrier County and elsewhere in the state. The following is an assortment of services and locations offered to assist the public:
The Greenbrier Resort, WSS
Ronceverte Volunteer Fire Station, Ronceverte
Greenbrier East High School
Bascom Methodist Church, Rupert
St. Borraneo Catholic Church, WSS
All Construction, Caldwell
Neola Volunteer Fire Department, Neola
Anthony Creek volunteer Fire Department, Anthony Creek
Big Clear Creek Baptist Church, Rupert
Lewisburg Church of Christ, Lewisburg
First Baptist Church, Fairlea
Magic Mart (Park City), Rainelle
On Friday, July 8, Appalachian Power employee volunteers from across West Virginia and Virginia are gathering in four locations, including Rupert and Rainelle to offer fresh grilled burgers, with sides of advice and strong backs.
In addition to providing lunch for flood victims and relief workers, Appalachian Power will set up information tents to answer customers’ questions about their electrical service. Plus, teams of volunteers will help with flood relief efforts, cleaning, removing debris, sorting donations or providing whatever help is needed in each area. Appalachian Power volunteers will be at each location from mid-morning to late afternoon.
In Rupert, an information tent will be set up at Smith’s Foodfair on Rte. 119.
In Rainelle, grills and information tents will be set up in two locations: at the former Magic Mart lot on John Raine Drive and at 422 Main Street.
Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs)
Rainelle Town Hall, 201 Kanawha Ave.
White Sulphur Springs – Southeastern Labor Council, AFL-CIO on 65 West Main Street
The DRCs are operating daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and are one-stop shops that provide one-on-one, face to face help for eligible storm survivors. The participating agencies and programs include:
• Governor’s Office
• Department of Health and Human Resources
• Division of Motor Vehicles
• West Virginia National Guard
• Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster-damaged
• Workforce West Virginia’s State Tax Department
• Insurance Commissioner’s Office
• West Virginia’s College of Law (to help residents complete FEMA and state agency forms and provide advice on how to obtain legal services)
• The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is staffing DRCs and has also opened a Business Recovery Center to help businesses and nonprofit organizations apply for SBA disaster loans at the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corp., 804 Industrial Park, Suite 5, Maxwelton. Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
SBA disaster loans may cover repairs and rebuilding as well as the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged real estate and personal property. More information is available at http://www.sba.gov/disaster>.
Flood disaster survivors may call West Virginia 211, a free information and referral service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They can call 2-1-1 for help finding food, childcare, crisis counceling, and many other resources in their local communities.
Shelters and Aid Stations
Shelters and aid stations have been set up to provide meals, relief supplies, casework assistance and other resources operated by the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross in Greenbrier County:
Shelter: Ronceverte Fire Department, 722 Ronceverte Avenue, Ronceverte
Relief Supply Distribution Location: Greenbrier Valley Airport, 584 Airport Road, Lewisburg
Casework Service Center: 200 East Main Street, White Sulphur Springs-hours 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Casework Service Center: Magic Mark, 41 John Raine Drive, Rainelle-hours 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Shelter: Greenbrier East High School
Volunteer Reception Center (VRC)
204 North Jefferson Street, Lewisburg (Hill & Holler), hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. email:LewisburgVRC@gmail.com 304-808-1872
Volunteer WV has developed a website to help “connect the dots” between those donating and those who need to receive the donations. Please visit www.wvflood.com for more information.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
For those out of work due to the disaster, DUA is now available, even for self-employed workers. DUA applies to those living inside or outside ja designated county whose work has been affected. To apply with WorkForce West Virginia, visit workforcewv.org. The deadline to apply is July 27, for Kanawha, Greenbrier and Nicholas counties and July 29 for Clay, Fayette, Monroe, Pocahontas, Roane, Summers and Webster counties.
Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams are canvassing shelters and conducting outreach in counties designated for individual assistance. Members carry FEMA photo IDs. If the photo is not displayed, ask to see it. Legitimate FEMA inspectors will have the applicant’s nine-digit case number assigned at registration and always carry FEMA identification with a photograph.
Affected renters are eligible for FEMA grants to help with such related expenses as:
• Renting a new place to live when the renter’s previous home was lost due to the disaster
• Disaster-related medical and dental expenses.
• Replacing or repairing lost or damaged personal property including appliances and furniture, textbooks and computers used by students, and work equipment or tools used by the self-employed.
• Replacing or repairing damaged vehicles.
• Disaster-related funeral and burial expenses.
FEMA grants are not loans and do not have to be repaid. They are not taxable income and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid, welfare assistance, SNAP benefits and several other programs. Eligible renters can apply for assistance by using the FEMA App for smartphones, going online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov or calling (800) 621-3362. Assistance from FEMA is intended to help jump-start the recovery; it may not cover all damage or property loss. Private insurance and low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are major sources of funding for disaster recovery.
Grants are available to aid the repair of damaged privately owned access roads and bridges, through FEMA’s Individuals and Households program, if:
• The survivor meets all basic eligibility criteria for the Individuals and Households Program assistance and;
• The survivor is the homeowner, and the home is their primary residence.
• The survivor meets at least one additional requirement:
a. The road/bridge is the only access to the property
b. The home cannot be accessed due to damaged infrastructure
c. The safety of the occupants could be adversely affected because emergency services vehicles, such as ambulances or fire trucks, could not reach the residence. However, this will only be considered if access was available prior to the disaster.
More information is available through the FEMA Helpline: (800) 621-3362. For more information on FEMA’s role in West Virginia’s disaster recovery, visit http://www.fema.gov/disaster/4273.
Road and Bridge Closures
As posted by the WVDOH as of July 6, are as follows:
Anjean Road – roadway washed out between MP 1 – MP 5
Blue Sulphur Pike Road – culvert washed out
Keiffer Road – bridge washed out between MM 6– MM 9
Pond Lick Road – road washed out between MM 0.00 – MM 1.07
According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the number of deaths attributed to the floods remains at 23. That total includes the 22 confirmed fatalities with one person missing and presumed dead in Greenbrier County. Fatalities by county: Greenbrier 15 (14 bodies recovered; one missing and presumed dead); Kanawha 6; Ohio 1; Jackson 1.