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Staunton: Aug. 8 flooding does not qualify as federally declared disaster

Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 5:08 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - Officials say flooding around Staunton back in August does not qualify as a federal disaster.

Staunton announced Oct. 7, that it had received notification from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) that the Aug. 8 flood event does not meet criteria to qualify.

Staunton Fire Chief Scott Garber said the determination by VDEM was not surprising to him. He said for the floods in the Queen City to be considered a federally declared disaster, the flooding damage would have to be more widespread.

“It would have had to affect the entire state," Garber said. "What I’ll use as a reference to that is the derecho that occurred a few years back, which moved through multiple states and into Virginia and caused widespread damage throughout those states, as well as the commonwealth.”

This means there will be no assistance from the state or the federal government for private property owners dealing with damages.

The city assessed the cleanup and repairs from the Aug. 8 deluge to total around $3.1 million.

Staunton says it may be eligible for reimbursement from the state for certain damage-related expenses incurred directly by the city.

Damage to city property was reported to VDEM in the city’s damage assessment at $889,615, with major impacts to Gypsy Hill and Montgomery Hall parks, the Johnson Street parking garage, and various sidewalks and a retaining wall in the flood-affected areas.

Staunton Mayor Andrea Oakes said this determination by VDEM was disappointing. She said the city was hoping for at least partial funding.

For Stauntonians still recovering from those floods, Oakes recommends homeowners contact the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission. The Community Program Manager, Rebecca Joyce, can be reached at rebecca@cspdc.org or (540) 885-5174 extension 112.

For Staunton business owners, Oakes said to contact the Staunton Creative Community Fund.

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