May 17, 2011
Office of the Governor
CONTACT: Jeff Caldwell
Phone: (804) 225-4260
Virginia Department of Emergency Management
Contact: Bob Spieldenner
Phone: 804-484-4201; 804-484-4201
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RICHMOND –Governor Bob McDonnell announced today that he will appeal the May 7 denials by the Federal Emergency Management Agency of disaster assistance for Virginians affected by a series of strong tornadoes during April.
The Governor made three separate requests for FEMA’s Individual Assistance program: 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. All three requests were denied. All three will be appealed.
“Local and state governments and volunteers are doing all they can to help, but federal assistance would make a big difference in ensuring that hundreds of Virginians recover from this devastation,” Governor McDonnell said. “I urge FEMA to reconsider this decision and to expedite my request. I also sincerely appreciate the tremendous assistance we have received from our entire Congressional delegation in making and now moving forward with this decision. This has been a bipartisan effort and I want to particularly thank Congressmen Morgan Griffith, Robert Hurt and Robb Wittman and Senator Mark Warner for their leadership and commitment to ensuring we take every step possible to help Virginians who have been harmed by these horrific storms.”
“I am extremely heartened by all the work our citizens and volunteers are doing to help each other recover from this disaster,” said Governor McDonnell. “But it is going to take time for some of our communities to be restored. We simply need more resources. Homes, businesses and property have been lost. Jobs have been jeopardized; and people are suffering. We want to do all we can to make sure Virginians have what they need to get back on their feet and on with their lives.”
The Individual Assistance Program would make funding available to homeowners and renters in the form of low-interest loans and grants, unemployment assistance, disaster housing assistance and crisis counseling.
Last week, the Governor encouraged private companies, non-profit organizations, volunteers, faith-based organizations and citizens to rally to provide additional aid to communities across Virginia that were affected by April’s severe weather and tornadoes. He also established a tornado relief fund for people who wish to send donations to the victims. Donations can be made by checks payable to 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.
During three severe weather events in April, at least 30 tornadoes hit Virginia, killing 10 people and injuring more than 100. Approximately 212 homes were destroyed, and more than 1,050 homes and businesses were damaged.
Be ready. Be willing to help.
Virginia Disaster Relief Fund
How is the money distributed?
Fund proceeds will be distributed to local long-term recovery groups, members of the Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and other non-profit and faith-based organizations as a grant.
Many of these groups work directly with individuals and families following a disaster.
How else can I donate?
The Virginia Disaster Relief Fund benefits projects that include: repair or rebuilding of underinsured dwellings, transportation assistance, replacing essential household items, helping renters establish new rental residence, temporary living expenses while recovering from loss, and more.
How can I donate?
If you want to help, send checks made payable to the Treasurer of Virginia with “Virginia Disaster Relief Fund” noted in the memo line to:
P.O. Box 1971
Richmond, VA 23218-1971