CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The Federal Emergency Management Agency has reconsidered its decision to deny individual disaster assistance for the June 29 derecho, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Wednesday.
Residents and businesses in the four hardest-hit counties - Kanawha, Fayette, Nicholas and Raleigh - can now apply for federal aid to repair damaged or destroyed property and recoup other storm-related costs.
The move was a partial reversal of FEMA's original Aug. 8 decision to deny individual assistance to the state.
FEMA teams conducted damage surveys in several counties following the storm.
Traditionally, the agency grants individuals and businesses aid only if more than 100 homes or buildings were destroyed in an event.
The storm left more than 500,000 customers without power for days, most people suffered minimal property damage.
With the assistance of the state's congressional delegation, Tomblin administration officials appealed FEMA's initial decision.
They decided to tailor the state's application to the four hardest hit counties.
Among West Virginia homes destroyed in the storm, 42 percent were located in Fayette, Kanawha, Nicholas and Raleigh counties. Sixty percent of homes in those counties had major damage.
FEMA officials decided the damage warranted individual assistance.
"I'm happy my appeal for FEMA to reconsider the needs of our families and businesses was well received," Tomblin said in a statement. "These federal funds will provide much needed help to West Virginians in the hardest hit areas of our state."