Federal and state grants to assist West Virginians with flood recovery efforts have reached $2.5 million, state and federal recovery officials said on Wednesday. President Bush’s Sept. 20 Hurricane Ivan disaster declaration for West Virginia now includes 16 counties.
Federal Coordinating Officer Lou Botta of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said “Grants totaling $2,520,679 have been approved to help 1,218 West Virginia flood-affected households with recovery.”
State Coordinating Officer Steve Kappa of the West Virginia Office of Emergency Services (WVOES) said, “Even those with insurance should register with FEMA at the toll -free registration line – 1-800-621-3362. We don’t want any West Virginian affected by flooding to forego possible benefits. There are situations where insurance may not cover all losses and those losses may be eligible for federal and state aid.”
Grants are provided under the FEMA and State of West Virginia Individuals and Households Program (IHP). The program has two parts:
* The Housing Assistance part of IHP provides renters and homeowners who cannot or should not live in their disaster-damaged homes grants to obtain alternate living quarters. When possible, homeowners may receive a grant to make the home livable. To date, FEMA has approved $1,694,159 to assist 1,194 households with housing assistance.
* The Other Needs Assistance (ONA) part of IHP provides grants to homeowners and renters who do not qualify for a U.S. Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loan to obtain essential needs not met by other assistance programs. Among such are disaster-related lost personal property, funeral expenses, transportation and dental and medical costs. To date, FEMA and the State of West Virginia have approved $826,517 for 159 households under ONA.
Botta and Kappa said people with disaster-related damage to their homes or businesses should register for help by calling, toll-free, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The phone lines will be open 24 hours a day until further notice. Those with speech or hearing impairment may call TTY 1-800-462-7585.
So far, more than 3,850 people in the 16 disaster-designated counties have registered for assistance.
On Sept. 20 President Bush approved a request from Governor Bob Wise for a federal disaster declaration for the counties of Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio, Pleasants, Tyler, Wetzel and Wirt. On September 24 the counties of Berkeley, Cabell, Jackson, Kanawha, Lincoln, Mason, Morgan and Wood were added to the declaration.