November 01, 2012

Manchin, Rockefeller, Rahall Urge FEMA to Open Up More Federal Resources in Aftermath of Storm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, along with Congressman Nick Rahall, today urged the President to approve the Governor’s request that federal disaster assistance be made available to help West Virginia recover from this week’s storm.

President Obama on Tuesday declared a federal state of emergency in West Virginia, which authorized FEMA to provide emergency protective measures for all counties in West Virginia.

Rockefeller, Manchin and Rahall today agreed with the Governor’s request for additional measures, which include an expedited Major Disaster Declaration. The request is for Individual Assistance for six counties (Fayette, Nicholas, Preston, Randolph, Tucker, and Webster); and Public Assistance for 21 counties (Barbour, Boone, Braxton, Clay, Fayette, Grant, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Lewis, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Preston, Raleigh, Randolph, Summers, Taylor, Tucker, Upshur, Webster, and Wyoming.

“The devastation in some areas of our state is extraordinary,” Rockefeller said. “And while I’m very pleased the President acted quickly in including West Virginia in the emergency disaster declaration, we need more help beyond clearing roads. That’s why this Major Disaster Declaration is so important. Thousands of West Virginians were impacted by this storm, and I’m fighting to make sure every possible federal resource is available in the days and weeks ahead.”

"As I've toured some of the hardest-hit areas of our state with Governor Tomblin, Congressman Rahall and the National Guard, it's clear that we need additional federal aid to fully recover from this major disaster," Senator Manchin said. "We're still trying to reach some mountain areas that have been inaccessible because of the heavy snowfall, and tens of thousands of West Virginians are still without power. Our message is: Help is on the way. I fully support this request for a Major Disaster Declaration, and I will work with the rest of our Congressional delegation and the Administration to make sure that this request is expedited."

“Incredibly, this is our State’s fourth disaster request this year.   This brutal year has taken a significant economic toll on our families and businesses, not to mention the emotional distress and heartbreak so many have endured,” said Rahall, top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee which holds jurisdiction over FEMA.  “Having toured several counties and spoken with multiple state and local officials about the critical and urgent need for assistance in clearing our roads and restoring electrical power and communications, I will continue to work with the rest of the Congressional Delegation and push hard to expedite our State’s disaster assistance request.”