Wise, VA -- It has been almost a month since President Bush declared a major disaster because of flood damage in Southwest Virginia. The localities designated in the disaster declaration are Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise and the city of Norton. Wythe County was designated eligible for public assistance only. During that time, FEMA has received 1,693 applications for disaster assistance and has approved more than $2.5 million in combined assistance.
- To date, 1,693 applicants have registered for disaster assistance.
- More than 1,462 inspections have been completed. Housing inspectors
are verifying damage to determine eligibility for FEMA disaster housing
- $1.6 million in FEMA disaster housing assistance checks have been
issued to more than 1,075 residents affected by the March flooding.
- The Individual and Family Grant Program (IFG) has approved $530,000
in grants to help 190 families cover serious needs or overcome disaster-related
hardship, injury or adverse conditions.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved $292,000
in low interest disaster loans to 21 individuals and businesses. SBA
disaster loans are the primary form of federal assistance to help homeowners,
renters and businesses of all sizes affected by the disaster.
- Disaster unemployment assistance through the Virginia Employment
Commission is available to eligible individuals who are out of work
due to the disaster and not covered by regular unemployment insurance.
- Initial public assistance projects totaling $290,000 have been approved
and more are expected. In Russell County, a project is underway to relocate
damaged water lines; road repair has been approved in Tazewell County;
and St. Paul in Wise County has a project to repair a damaged park.
The public assistance funds are expected to rise dramatically when all
projects in the disaster declared areas reach the final approval stage.
Applicants were briefed and there were five kickoff meetings for public
assistance on April 24.
- 20,000 gallons of potable water was initially distributed through
the Russell County Water & Sewer Authority for affected Dante, West
Dante and Russell County residents. Up to 40,000 gallons more are available.
An increment of 8,000 gallons is scheduled for delivery on May 1 with
future deliveries as requested. It is not anticipated that the entire
40,000 gallons will be required.
- Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) have been in operation in seven
of the disaster declared counties of Southwest Virginia. The last of
the mobile centers closed on Sunday, April 28. On Wednesday, May 1 at
7 p.m., the disaster recovery center in Wise will close permanently.
The disaster recovery centers were visited by a total of 523 applicants.
- FEMA community relations field officers continue to contact Virginia
victims in the disaster-designated counties to assess their needs.