The Commonwealth was notified today that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied all three appeals for federal assistance to help individuals recover from 34 tornadoes that struck Virginia in April.
On May 19, Governor Bob McDonnell appealed FEMA’s denial of three separate requests: for Pulaski County; for Halifax and Washington counties; and a request to consider April 8-28 as one period so that other localities such as Gloucester and Middlesex counties could be added.
“I am very disappointed that FEMA denied our appeals for disaster assistance to help Virginian’s recover from the April tornadoes,” said Governor McDonnell. “The denial of assistance will definitely have an impact on those struggling to recover. Despite this decision by the federal government, I know that Virginians will continue to work together to help their fellow citizens who are still in need almost two months after these storms have faded from the headlines.”
Virginia will immediately pursue assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA) in the form of low-interest loans for homeowners, renters and business owners who suffered damage.
The SBA can provide real property loans of up to $200,000 to homeowners to repair or restore their primary home to its pre-disaster condition. Also, the agency can authorize personal property loans to provide homeowners or renters with up to $40,000 to help repair or replace personal property, such as clothing, furniture and automobiles lost in the disaster. In addition, businesses suffering damage could receive loans to help repair or replace damaged property and for the loss of business revenues.
Volunteer groups have been active in affected areas since the first severe weather hit on April 8. To assist charitable groups in their efforts to help Virginians recover, Governor McDonnell established the Virginia Disaster Relief Fund. The governor announced in May that $600,000 in anticipated state agency savings will be added to the fund to go toward helping Virginians who were affected by severe weather and tornadoes that struck the Commonwealth in April.
A website has been created to process credit card donations at http://disasterrelief.vi.virginia.gov/. Those who wish to write a check can do so by making checks payable to the Treasurer of Virginia with “tornado relief” noted in the memo line. Send checks to Comptroller’s Office, P.O. Box 1971, Richmond, VA 23218-1971. Donations are tax deductible.