U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) sent a letter to President Barack Obama today in support of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin's request for individual assistance for people in 24 counties affected by the severe storms that hit the state late last month. The declaration would help individuals and businesses pay for structural damage to houses and buildings, lost food, wages and medicine.
"I personally visited an immeasurable number of individuals and business owners who were impacted by the unprecedented storms that hit my state," Senator Manchin wrote in the letter. "In addition to power outages and the subsequent loss of food, wages, and medicines, thousands of individuals from across my State found their private homes, barns, and sheds significantly damaged by wind, fallen trees, and flying debris.
"I am so very proud of the work of our local leaders, first-responders, and National Guard. Our police and firefighters, many of whom personally suffered substantial losses to their homes and property, are still working overtime to rebuild their communities. In the aftermath of the storm, all West Virginians came together as neighbors helping neighbors. So many people offered a hand with cleanup, checked in on the elderly or donated food to those who lost all their groceries.
"With that being said, the scope of these storms was devastating, and the inclusion of individual assistance to the major disaster declaration would provide much-needed aid to West Virginians who are struggling, not only with the costs of rebuilding, but also with the basic hardships of surviving."
Following the late June storms, Senator Manchin joined the West Virginia National Guard in visiting the damaged communities. He spoke directly with the families who were affected to help meet their needs. He visited Lewisburg, Alderson, Rupert and Rainelle in Greenbrier County, as well as Glen Jean, Kincaid, Page, Montgomery, Gauley Bridge, Ansted and Lookout in Fayette County.
Governor Tomblin is requesting assistance from the federal government including Individual and Households Program, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Disaster Legal services, Disaster Supplemental Food Nutrition Assistance Program and Crisis Counseling, and Small Business Administration disaster loans. The Governor's request for public assistance to recover from the storms was granted by President Obama on July 23, 2012.
If the Governor's request for individual assistance is granted, the declaration would help individuals and businesses in the following 24 counties: Boone, Calhoun, Doddridge, Fayette, Gilmer, Greenbrier, Jackson, Kanawha, Logan, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Putnam, Raleigh, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Webster, Wetzel, Wirt and Wood Counties.