April 1, 2011  //  


Media Contacts:
FEMA – Josie Pritchard        (276) 973-0078
VDEM – Suzanne Simmons   (276) 973-0063
SBA –     Colleen Hiam           (716) 283 4612

May 6, 2002




NOTE TO EDITORS: Federal, state, local and voluntary agencies are working in partnership to help SW Virginia residents following the March flooding. The following is a summary of ongoing response and recovery efforts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Virginia Department of Emergency Management will update this information periodically from their Joint Information Center in Wise. The information is current as of May 6, 2002.


WISE, VA. – FEMA and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) continue recovery efforts in eight Southwest Virginia counties and the independent city of Norton that suffered floods in March while also dealing with the May 2 flooding in Buchanan and Tazewell counties.

The localities included in the March flood disaster are Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise and the city of Norton. Wythe County was designated eligible for public assistance only. During the five weeks since President Bush declared the disaster, FEMA has received 1,800 applications for disaster assistance and has approved $4 million in combined assistance.

  • To date, 1,812 applicants have registered for disaster assistance.

  • More than 1,560 inspections have been completed. Housing inspectors are verifying damage to determine eligibility for FEMA disaster housing assistance.

  • Almost $1.8 million in FEMA disaster housing assistance checks have been issued to more than 1,163 residents affected by the March flooding.

  • The Individual and Family Grant Program (IFG) has approved $545,000 in grants to help 194 families cover serious needs or overcome disaster-related hardship, injury or adverse conditions.

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved $913,000 in low interest disaster loans to 62 individuals and businesses. SBA disaster loans are the primary form of federal assistance to help homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes affected by the disaster.

  • Disaster unemployment assistance through the Virginia Employment Commission is available to eligible individuals who are out of work due to the disaster and not covered by regular unemployment insurance. The deadline for application is May 13, 2002.

  • Initial public assistance projects totaling $791,000 in federal funds have been approved and more are expected. The current focus of public assistance is repair of flood-damaged roads. Earlier, in Russell County, there was a project to relocate water lines out of flood danger. Public assistance funds are expected to rise dramatically when all projects in the disaster declared areas reach the final approval stage. Applicants were briefed on public assistance on April 24, and 26 kick-off meetings have been held to date.

  • Potable water is being distributed through the Russell County Water & Sewer Authority for affected residents on an as-needed basis.

  • Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) were in operation in seven of the disaster declared counties of Southwest Virginia. The last of the DRCs closed on May 1

  • The Red Cross served more than 18,000 meals and provided shelter to 168 people in 11 shelters, in the early stages of the disaster.

Individuals and business owners who suffered losses or damages in the March floods in the counties designated in the presidential disaster declaration are encouraged to register by calling FEMA’s toll-free number, 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech and hearing impaired. Those who have already registered but need to update their information or who have questions about the status of their application can call the FEMA Helpline, 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. Hours of operation for both locations are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Information on the Southwest Virginia disaster is also available on FEMA’s homepage on the Internet at www.fema.gov, or VDEM’s homepage at www.vaemergency.com. Information also is available through FEMA’s 24-fax-on-demand service by calling (202) 646-FEMA. RADIO NEWS DIRECTORS: For recorded actualities on response and recovery operations call the FEMA Radio Network at 1-800-323-5248.


Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund