Residents get extension for storm aid
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - State residents who suffered damages during the June 29 derecho will get an extra month to apply for federal disaster aid.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management announced the extension Monday.
FEMA had approved individual assistance to residents in 20 West Virginia counties to cover storm damages. The original deadline was Monday.
However, given the impact Superstorm Sandy had on the state, officials decided to extend the deadline one month to Dec. 19.
"We don't want people with uninsured damages to their homes or businesses to miss the opportunity to register, especially with many of those same people recovering from Hurricane Sandy," FEMA coordinating officer Robert Hoban said in a statement. "That is why we are extending the deadline."
Derecho assistance is available to individuals and businesses in Boone, Cabell, Clay, Fayette, Greenbrier, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Roane, Tyler, Webster, and Wood counties.
In addition to covering household damage, FEMA assistance can be used to help replace damaged appliances and cover some necessary expenses, like generators used to run medical equipment.
To register for assistance, individuals and businesses can either call 1-800-621-FEMA or visit www.disasterassistance.gov.
FEMA initially granted individual assistance to just four counties, but expanded it to 20 following an appeal from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
Since September, FEMA has approved more than $2 million in disaster assistance for 849 state residents.
The Tomblin administration welcomed the extension and encouraged people to apply. Tomblin spokeswoman Amy Shuler-Goodwin said the extension is especially helpful to those who now have to deal with costs from Sandy damage.
"It's just a very busy times for lots of folks," she said. "People are still cleaning up, it's a lot of balls in the air and is sometimes very difficult. We certainly embrace this extension and urge everyone to call into the number."
Goodwin said even if people are turned down, the damage totals they list on their applications are still used by state officials to produce more accurate statewide damage assessment totals.
Contact writer Jared Hunt at email@example.com or 304-348-5148.