Partnership and progress: West Virginia 60 days later

West Virginia is taking significant steps toward recovery following the severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides that occurred June 22-29.

Recovery takes the whole community. Affected communities and disaster survivors are repairing and rebuilding better, stronger and safer with the help of neighbors, friends, family members, voluntary groups, faith- and community-based organizations and local, county, state and federal governments.

The following highlights recovery progress made in the 60 days since the June 25 presidential disaster declaration and how disaster survivors and affected communities are overcoming challenges: Initially three counties were designated as eligible for federal assistance. Since then, the presidential disaster declaration has been amended six times, making survivors in 12 counties eligible to apply for help under FEMA’s Individual Assistance (IA) program.

The deadline for survivors to register for federal aid under the IA program is Wednesday, Sept. 7.

In addition, local, county and state government infrastructure and certain private nonprofit organizations in 18 counties became eligible to receive funding through FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program to repair and rebuild certain eligible disaster-damaged facilities. Local, county and state government expenses related to debris removal, saving lives, providing security, and managing the immediate response also became eligible for reimbursement.

The PA program benefits everyone in the affected communities because essential services like roads, utilities, schools and hospitals are often restored stronger than they were before the disaster. FEMA relieves burdens of local and county governments and the state by paying 75 percent of the eligible costs.

So far, more than 8,732 West Virginia households have contacted FEMA for IA help.

To date, survivors and state and local governments have received more than $111 million in federal disaster assistance for a variety of recovery purposes.

• More than $32.7 million in grants has been approved for a place to stay for homeowners and renters whose residences were uninhabitable and to make essential repairs for homes to be safe, secure and functional.

• More than $6.2 million in grants has gone to homeowners and renters to repair and replace certain household items and for disaster-related burial, medical and dental expenses.

• Homeowners, renters and businesses have received more than $44.2 million in low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to repair, rebuild and replace damaged property and contents. Disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other sources.

• NFIP policyholders have received more than $20 million in claims to repair and rebuild flood-damaged property.

• Public Assistance grants obligated as of Aug. 23 total more than $7.8 million.

• FEMA specialists have attended more than 30 community organization events in West Virginia to discuss and answer questions about federal disaster assistance.

• More than 9,100 survivors have visited 15 Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs). The first centers opened three days after the presidential disaster declaration.

• More than 7,100 FEMA housing inspections have been completed.

• FEMA disaster survivor assistance specialists canvassed the affected communities to encourage survivors to register for help, provide recovery information and listen to their concerns.

• Free consultations on building hazard-resistant homes have been given to more than 2,800 survivors at DRCs and more than 5,300 at West Virginia home improvement stores.

Recovery has significantly progressed because of voluntary, faith and community-based groups that are donating their time and skills to help survivors muck out, repair and rebuild their homes. These groups are always the first and last presence to help disaster survivors recover.

Whole community partners continue to collaborate to find solutions to enable West Virginia’s recovery and will be here as long as it takes.

Registering with FEMA is the first step in qualifying for assistance. FEMA encourages all survivors who sustained disaster-related damage or losses to apply by phone (voice, 711 or relay service) at 800-621-3362 (TTY users should call 800-462-7585) or online at DisasterAssistance.gov. The toll-free lines are open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. EDT seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.

 

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