McDonnell appeals FEMA rejection on tornado aid

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) is appealing a recent decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deny federal aid to Virginia counties hard hit by tornadoes in April.


Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, left, listens to Lee and Cindy Wright on April 29 as they tell of of how their great aunt's home was destroyed by the tornado that struck Glade Spring, Va., the day before. (By Bob Brown/Richmond Times Dispatch)

The request was to help Halifax, Pulaski and Washington counties recover from tornadoes that killed 10 and left 100 injured and 212 homes damaged.

FEMA bases responses to such requests on the amount of damage and trauma caused, the ability of local and state groups to respond and existing insurance coverage in the area.

“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,” McDonnell said in a statement. “I urge FEMA to reconsider this decision and to expedite my request.

He said the state’s congressional delegation has offered bipartisan support for obtaining FEMA aid.

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for the Washington Post.

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