Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Tuesday that he will appeal the May 7 denials by the Federal Emergency Management Agency of disaster assistance for Virginians affected by a series of strong tornadoes during April.
He made three separate requests for FEMA’s Individual Assistance program: for Pulaski County; for Halifax and Washington counties; and a request to consider April 8 through 28 as one period so that other localities such as Gloucester and Middlesex counties could be added. All three requests were denied. All three will be appealed.
"Local and state governments and volunteers are doing all they can to help, but federal assistance would make a big difference in ensuring that hundreds of Virginians recover from this devastation," says McDonnell. "I urge FEMA to reconsider this decision and to expedite my request. I also sincerely appreciate the tremendous assistance we have received from our entire Congressional delegation in making and now moving forward with this decision. This has been a bipartisan effort and I want to particularly thank Congressmen Morgan Griffith, Robert Hurt and Robb Wittman and Sen. Mark Warner for their leadership and commitment to ensuring we take every step possible to help Virginians who have been harmed by these horrific storms.
“I am extremely heartened by all the work our citizens and volunteers are doing to help each other recover from this disaster. But it is going to take time for some of our communities to be restored. We simply need more resources. Homes, businesses and property have been lost. Jobs have been jeopardized; and people are suffering. We want to do all we can to make sure Virginians have what they need to get back on their feet and on with their lives.”
The Individual Assistance Program would make funding available to homeowners and renters in the form of low-interest loans and grants, unemployment assistance, disaster housing assistance and crisis counseling.
Last week, McDonnell encouraged private companies, nonprofit organizations, volunteers, faith-based organizations and citizens to rally to provide additional aid to communities across Virginia that were affected by April’s severe weather and tornadoes. He also established a tornado relief fund for people who wish to send donations to the victims.
Donations can be made by checks payable to Treasurer of Virginia with “tornado relief” noted in the memo line. Send checks to Comptroller’s Office, P.O. Box 1971, Richmond, VA 23218-1971. Donations are tax deductible.
During three severe weather events in April, at least 30 tornadoes hit Virginia, killing ten people and injuring more than 100. Approximately 212 homes were destroyed, and more than 1,050 homes and businesses were damaged.