WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - June 28, 2016) - Since Thursday, June 23, devastating floods have hit West Virginia, covering a large portion of the state. The American Red Cross is there, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is in the state helping people impacted by the floodwaters.
There have been a reported 14 deaths thus far, with thousands of people without power and many roads and bridges washed out in the state. West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has declared emergencies in 44 counties where dozens of people have had to be rescued. Officials estimate thousands of homes are damaged.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Saturday, June 25, announced that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the State of West Virginia to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides beginning on June 22, 2016, and continuing.
The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Greenbrier, Kanawha, and Nicholas counties. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
Assistance for affected individuals and families can include as required:
- Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are unlivable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to three months for homeowners and at least one month for renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
- Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional. (Source: FEMA funded and administered.)
- Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs. (Source: FEMA funded at 75 percent of total eligible costs; 25 percent funded by the state.)
- Unemployment payments up to 26 weeks for workers who temporarily lost jobs because of the disaster and who do not qualify for state benefits, such as self-employed individuals. (Source: FEMA funded; state administered.)
- Low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance. Loans available up to $200,000 for primary residence; $40,000 for personal property, including renter losses. Loans available up to $2 million for business property losses not fully compensated by insurance. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
- Loans up to $2 million for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes that have suffered disaster-related cash flow problems and need funds for working capital to recover from the disaster's adverse economic impact. This loan in combination with a property loss loan cannot exceed a total of $2 million. (Source: U.S. Small Business Administration.)
- Loans up to $500,000 for farmers, ranchers and aquaculture operators to cover production and property losses, excluding primary residence. (Source: Farm Service Agency, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.)
- Other relief programs: Crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster; income tax assistance for filing casualty losses; advisory assistance for legal, veterans' benefits and social security matters.
"This federal support will provide much needed assistance to severely-impacted regions," West Virginia's governor Earl Ray Tomblin said in a statement. "As emergency response efforts continue, with members of the National Guard and local emergency responders hard at work helping our neighbors, we will continue pursuing additional assistance for all affected areas."
Albert Lewis has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. According to Lewis, additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
The historic floods are the worst in a century for portions of the state, the governor has said, and destroyed or seriously damaged at least 100 homes. Water levels reached as high as rooftops in some areas. More than 30,000 people are without power, according to the state's Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Red Cross workers opened numerous shelters in Fayette, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Nicholas, Pocahontas and Roane counties and are providing meals, relief supplies and other assistance to those affected as well as meals for first responders. Red Cross disaster mental health workers are helping people cope. Health workers are helping to replace needed items like prescription medications and eyeglasses.
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
As FEMA works to assist survivors affected by the West Virginia flooding, it will use contractors to provide flood-mitigation and rebuilding services. Contractors who can provide these types of services, and who are willing to help, must have a valid and complete System for Award Management (SAM) Registration. Contractors also must be registered with FEMA as a service provider. Typically, FEMA doesn't put contracts out to bid in the middle of or wake of a disaster. Instead, FEMA officers rely on contractors with whom they have a relationship, who have provided services in the past, or who are on their registry of eligible and registered services providers.
US Federal Contractor Registration, the world's largest third-party government registration firm, is ready now to help contractors register with FEMA and to complete their SAM Registration. Call us today at 877-252-2700 to expedite the registration process.