FEMA Denies Individual Assistance for Earthquake Damage

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has denied Governor Bob McDonnell’s request for Individual Assistance to help Louisa County property owners affected by the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Virginia on Aug. 23.

Damage assessments for residential properties are nearly $15 million, mostly in uninsured costs.

“We are very disappointed in FEMA’s decision, and we will immediately appeal,” said Governor McDonnell. “Disaster relief and public safety are core functions of the federal government. Unfortunately, volunteer groups are ill-equipped to repair earthquake damage and while state and local officials are doing everything they can, federal assistance is necessary in ensuring that affected Virginians are able to get their homes back in working order and get back on their feet again.”

Since the quake, local and state emergency officials, the Virginia departments of Fire Programs, Transportation, State Police and other response agencies have worked tirelessly to help residents and governments respond to and recover from the earthquake.

Louisa County has reported at least $80.6 million in damage from the earthquake.

The total includes $63.8 million in damage to schools, an estimated $14.7 million in damage to private homes, $1 million in damage to commercial buildings, $690,000 in damage to government buildings and $475,000 in damage to religious structures.

The 5.8-magnitude earthquake's epicenter was in Mineral.

Other localities in the vicinity of the epicenter are adding up damage costs. Damage in Culpeper County is estimated at $10 million.

Fredericksburg estimated $711,000 in damage and Stafford County reported about $100,000 in damage.

The Individual Assistance Program would have made funding available to homeowners, renters and businesses in the form of low-interest loans and grants, unemployment assistance, disaster housing assistance and crisis counseling.

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