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Virginia Politics
Posted at 04:54 PM ET, 11/04/2011

FEMA denies aid to help Northern Virginia recover from Tropical Storm Lee

The federal government denied Virginia’s request for aid to help Northern Virginians recover from the heavy rains and flooding from Tropical Storm Lee in September.
Lorton Road over Giles Run was washed away recently by three days of heavy rains brought on by Tropical Storm Lee. (Shamus Ian Fatzinger - Fairfax County Times )

More than 100 homes and businesses were destroyed or sustained major damage. About 500 people were displaced from their homes in Prince William County. Five storm-related deaths were confirmed by the state, including three in Fairfax County.

“We are disappointed that FEMA has again denied assistance to Virginians,” Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) said in a statement late Friday. “Heavy rain and flooding caused severe damage in Fairfax and Prince William counties and federal assistance is critical in helping people who suffered significant losses and were displaced from their homes.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied Virginia’s request for help recovering from the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Aug. 23. McDonnell is appealing that decision.

McDonnell had asked for a federal disaster declaration, which is needed to obtain aid for Lee through FEMA’s Individual Assistance program. The program provides grants, low-interest loans, housing assistance, unemployment assistance, legal services and crisis counseling to homeowners and renters.

McDonnell also has requested Hazard Mitigation Assistance for the entire state. That would help local and state governments reduce the impact of future disasters by taking actions such as removing structures from hazard areas and conducting public education campaigns.

Virginia’s U.S. senators and seven of its congressmen sent a letter to President Obama urging support of McDonnell’s request.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management will make a recommendation to McDonnell on whether to appeal FEMA’s denial.

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By  |  04:54 PM ET, 11/04/2011

 
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