RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell announced this evening that the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has approved federal disaster assistance for individuals and business owners in Louisa County who experienced damage as a result of a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Virginia on Aug. 23 and caused more than 40 aftershocks. The governor appealed FEMA’s initial decision to deny federal disaster aid to Louisa County.
“I thank FEMA and President Obama for their decision to grant federal disaster assistance for the people of Louisa County. I also want to thank Senator Mark Warner, Senator Jim Webb, Congressman Eric Cantor and Virginia’s entire congressional delegation for their strong support of our appeal. Many of our fellow Virginians who call Louisa home are hurting, and this is critically needed aid during a very trying time. The once-in-one hundred year earthquake that struck Virginia in August caused significant damage that was not covered by homeowner’s insurance. Many homes and businesses have been extensively damaged,” Governor McDonnell said. “This assistance is a key resource for families and business owners who have been trying to recover for more than two months.”
Since the original request was made Sept. 20, officials have found more extensive damage than what was originally reported in more than 1,400 homes. Some damage that was first categorized as minor has become worse as a result of more than 40 aftershocks. The appeal included a letter from Virginia’s entire congressional delegation supporting the request.
Governor McDonnell requested Individual Assistance and Hazard Mitigation funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Individual Assistance program provides disaster housing assistance, low interest loans and grants. The Hazard Mitigation program provides funds for projects sponsored by state and local governments that help reduce disaster risks by protecting homes and businesses against future damage.
Individuals and families in need of earthquake recovery aid can register immediately by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) Monday –Friday from 6 a.m. – midnight Central time, 7 a.m. – 1 a.m. Eastern time, and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. Eastern time. People also can register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Those with smart phones or other mobile devices also can register at m.fema.gov.
Business owners can apply to FEMA for low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Those applying should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves (name, Social Security number, address and phone number), insurance coverage and information to help substantiate losses.
The governor also requested federal Public Assistance for Louisa County Oct. 21. Public Assistance will help with costs to repair county schools, some of which were substantially damaged. Public Assistance also helps state and local governments recover costs associated with earthquake response, such as damage to critical infrastructure, debris removal and related emergency services. The request is pending.