West Virginia's entire Congressional delegation joined U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today in a letter urging the President to reconsider FEMA's decision that denied individual assistance to residents after the recent June 29th storm. The Administration has previously approved only public assistance.
"I join our Congressional delegation and Governor Tomblin to urge the President to reconsider FEMA's decision," Senator Joe Manchin said. "Against the odds, the people of West Virginia are continuing to rebuild, and I will not give up. While I am disappointed in this decision, I remain determined to keep fighting for the recovery funds that are so vital to many West Virginians. I saw the devastation firsthand and witnessed the heavy toll this took on our communities, our economy and our people -- especially the elderly and disabled. I will continue working in a bipartisan way to make sure our state gets the help it needs and deserves."
"I'm disappointed with FEMA's decision which will deny individual assistance to storm victims who really need it," said Senator Jay Rockefeller. "As a delegation, we're trying to get this is overturned. The devastation from the storms is still affecting so many West Virginians -- families, neighbors, and communities. And we need to make sure that they get all the help they can to get back on their feet -- but we need FEMA's assistance to make that possible."
"As the State compiles new numbers and information in submitting its appeal for individual assistance, I hope that the President and FEMA officials will take a fresh look at the needs of our citizens and the financial losses that our residents and businesses incurred," said Rep. Nick Rahall, whose Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the House of Representatives has jurisdiction over FEMA disaster programs. "Certainly, I will continue to press hard so that our State officials have the opportunity to make their case to the appropriate Federal officials and our hard-hit citizens can obtain as much assistance as possible from FEMA."
"Over half of our state was without power following the massive June storm. The derecho caused sweeping damage across West Virginia and some areas are still cleaning up debris. I am proud to work with the West Virginia delegation to urge FEMA to reconsider their decision to deny individual disaster assistance to residents," stated Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito.
"FEMA's decision to deny assistance to the victims of the devastating June storm is both disappointing and wrong," Rep. David B. McKinley said. "Many families have struggled in the aftermath of the storm, and these victims deserve to have access to all available assistance."
A copy of the letter is included below:
Dear Mr. President:
As you know, the June 29th derecho and subsequent storms that hit our State this summer crippled power, water, and communication systems, resulting in significant financial damages for residents and businesses and jeopardizing the health and well-being of citizens. Countless West Virginians are still struggling to recover.
We saw firsthand the devastation that the storms and extended power outages caused in our communities, our economy, and to our people. Many of the residents who were affected by the storm -- and who are now being denied Individual Assistance -- are elderly, or disabled and live on a fixed income. Even during the best of times, many of these West Virginians struggle to maintain basic necessities.
As the State compiles new information related to the losses and expenses incurred by West Virginia residents and businesses, we strongly urge you to favorably consider Governor Tomblin's appeal when it is submitted and to provide all available assistance allowed under the Stafford Act. We also ask that FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate begin immediate discussions with the appropriate State officials in regard to Governor Tomblin's imminent appeal.
We remain so very proud of the work of our local leaders, first-responders, and National Guard, and we trust that you will do everything in your power to make sure that West Virginians receive the help they need and deserve.