U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) Friday evening sent an urgent request to President Barack Obama, calling for quick action on the State of West Virginia's request for a federal disaster declaration for the counties of Lincoln, Mingo and Wyoming in southern West Virginia, which have been affected by tornadoes, severe storms, heavy rain, wind driven rain, flooding, high wind, mudslides and landslides beginning on February 29, 2012, and continuing.
"The resolve of West Virginians to recover from this disaster is, yet again, being tested," Rahall said. "I am urging the President to give immediate attention to this matter so that any and all available federal resources can be made available as quickly as possible to hasten that process."
The initial damage assessments are estimated in excess of $5 million throughout the state.
"My thoughts are with the families and entire communities that were devastated by these severe storms. I have been in continuous contact with our state and county emergency services directors. This declaration is crucial to West Virginia families who need federal assistance to recover from the extreme weather and the damage it caused," said Rahall. "I am working with our Congressional delegation and Governor Tomblin to ensure this declaration is expedited in every way possible, so our communities can get the federal help they desperately need to have a chance to recover from this disaster."
If the disaster request is approved by the President, federal assistance would be coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and could include debris removal, emergency protective measures and public services, repair of damaged public property, low interest loans needed by communities for essential government functions, individual assistance and public assistance and grants for individuals, households, and businesses in the affected counties.