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Senators ask for additional Sandy relief

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin joined 11 other U.S. senators from states affected by Superstorm Sandy Thursday to ask the White House for additional federal funding for storm recovery.

Manchin and Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., joined senators from New York, New Jersey, Deleware, Connecticut, Maryland and Rhode Island in asking President Obama to take swift action in providing necessary funds to help storm victims rebuild and recover.

They also asked the federal government to take on an increased share of recovery costs.

Both Manchin and Rockefeller said the state has already had to absorb the costs of several severe storms this year.

"State and local governments are already strapped for cash, and we need to step in and responsibly increase the amount of emergency assistance to help these families recover," Rockefeller said in a statement.

West Virginia suffered extensive damage during the most recent storm. Some areas suffered from wind and flood damage, while mountain counties suffered from severe blizzard conditions.

Hundreds of thousands of residents lost power during the storm. Power was not restored to some until early this week.

"Unfortunately, this is the kind of storm that will take months to recover from," Manchin said, "and I know the people in our great state, as well as up and down the East Coast, would appreciate the President adding additional funds for assistance in the 2013 budget to help us rebuild our homes, businesses and communities back to normal."

In addition to traditional disaster funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the senators requested the White House provide additional disaster relief funds through programs at other federal agencies.

That included programs through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Economic Development Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Small Business Administration.

State leaders also reminded residents that the deadline to apply for assistance related to the June 29 derecho is Monday.

FEMA has been authorized to grant individual assistance to residents in 20 West Virginia counties, including Kanawha, Boone, Lincoln, Raleigh, Fayette and Jackson counties.  

"The clock is ticking for families and businesses to apply for recovery assistance," Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. said. "Time and family budgets are tight, but investing some time upfront can bring families and businesses significant savings as they recover."

Those wishing to apply can do so by visiting www.

DisasterAssistance.gov, or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said given the extent of the damage caused by both the derecho and Sandy, it was crucial that residents remembered to apply for assistance.

"I know how many of our families and our businesses are struggling to recover," Tomblin said in a statement. "I appreciate the help FEMA is providing, and I encourage those who have not already applied for the federal assistance from this summer's storms to contact FEMA by Monday."

He said he would also keep working with federal officials to secure more funding for Sandy recovery efforts.

"For folks who are now dealing with damage from Hurricane Sandy, please know I continue to work with FEMA to get you the help you need," Tomblin said.

Contact writer Jared Hunt at jared.hunt@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148.


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