FEMA denies disaster assistance request

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on May 11, 2011 - 04:58 PM

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied Virginia’s request for federal disaster assistance for those affected by the April tornados.

Gov. Bob McDonnell had requested federal disaster assistance for the counties of Halifax, Pulaski and Washington, and asked FEMA to include April 8-28 as one incident period so other localities, such as Gloucester and Middlesex, could be added later.

"We are very disappointed that FEMA did not grant disaster assistance for Virginians still working to recover from the tornados," McDonnell said. "We are examining the possibility of appealing the decision, but in the meantime, state resources will continue to support the efforts of local governments and volunteer organizations that are helping our citizens recover."

The April 16 tornado destroyed 10 structures in Gloucester and affected nearly 180 others, causing an estimated $8.3 million in damages. This is in addition to the $16 million of damage done to Page Middle School as a result of the storm.

Emily Ashley, Gloucester’s emergency management coordinator, said the county will continue to work with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) as well as local community groups to continue to meet the needs of the citizens impacted by the tornado as the county moves through recovery.

If McDonnell does file an appeal, Ashley said there is no timeline for an answer from FEMA.