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Governor Northam Announces Federal Approval of Major Disaster Declaration for Buchanan County

This update was published by Policy and Communications
Published: October 27, 2021

Federal assistance will help Virginians recover from disaster damages and build back stronger, more resilient infrastructure

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that President Biden has approved a Major Disaster Declaration for Buchanan County, after extreme rainfall on August 30 resulted in devastating flash floods and landslides. The declaration provides federal support through Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation grant programs to assist in recovery efforts and protect against future disasters.

“I’m grateful to President Biden for approving my request and providing much needed federal assistance,” said Governor Northam. “Federal support will help Buchanan residents recover from this devastating storm and reduce the future flood risk to local organizations, homes, and businesses. As Governor, I will continue to do everything I can to support the Hurley community.”

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) will hold Applicant Briefings in the coming weeks to help inform potential grant applicants of the process for applying for and receiving federal grants. Applicants will have 30 days to register and submit a Request for Public Assistance (RPA) in the FEMA Grants Portal.

Public Assistance (approved)
With this approval, local, state, and private non-profit organizations with infrastructure damage or emergency and debris removal expenditures, may apply to FEMA for reimbursement of 75 percent of eligible costs. The FEMA Public Assistance program could take years to be fully reimbursed for disaster related expenditures. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management is the administrative agency for this grant program.
https://www.fema.gov/press-release/20210318/what-fema-public-assistance

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (approved)
With this approval, Virginia will receive funding for projects to reduce future flooding to homes, businesses, and infrastructure. This program could take 5-7 years to implement. The application phase of this program is 12 months, and then FEMA may take 6-18 months to award the project based on environmental and historic review compliance or technical feasibility review. Federal assistance is approved at 75 percent of the total eligible project costs. Local governments and state agencies will apply through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management as the administrating agency.
https://www.fema.gov/es/grants/mitigation/hazard-mitigation

“We’re pleased President Biden has heeded our calls and supported Governor Northam’s request for a Major Disaster Declaration,” said Senator Mark R. Warner and Senator Tim Kaine. “Now, Virginia can receive much-needed federal funds to help Buchanan County recover. We will continue working with the Governor’s office, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other relevant federal and state agencies to ensure the residents of Buchanan County have the resources they need following this tragic natural disaster.”

“Recovery from August’s severe flooding will take time, but the federal major disaster declaration will significantly help Hurley move forward,” said Congressman Morgan Griffith. “This declaration opens up new sources of aid for the rebuilding effort and will contribute to overcoming the flood’s devastation.”

A decision on the potential award of Individual Assistance is still pending.

For more information, please visit VDEM’s grants page.

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