PHILADELPHIA – The State of West Virginia and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Joint Field Office in Charleston, WV will close January 22, 2016. For the past ten months the state and FEMA have been working closely to support the recovery from the 2015 spring and summer storms that impacted 67 Counties.
What does this mean for the people of West Virginia?
Regis Phelan, the Federal Coordinating Officer said, “FEMA will continue to work closely with the state to ensure the recovery process continues smoothly and projects are complete.”
A Joint Field Office is closed when most of its work is completed. The federal work is then transitioned to the regional FEMA office, located in Philadelphia, PA. FEMA officials will continue to work closely with state personnel to close out major projects over the next few years.
From the Region, FEMA personnel will continue to support work on five presidentially declared disasters that impacted West Virginia. The five disasters are DR 4210, DR 4219, DR 4220, DR 4221 (Severe Storms, Flooding, Landslides, and Mudslides) and DR 4236 (Severe Storms, Straight-line Winds, Flooding, Landslides, and Mudslides).
"The State of West Virginia will be communicating and working with FEMA to ensure assistance to the counties continues smoothly," said West Virginia's State Coordinating Officer Jimmy Gianato. "Over the past year the Joint Field Office has allowed us to make substantial progress in the recovery from the five disasters that impacted our state and we will continue to move forward in our recovery."
To date, FEMA, through its Public Assistance program, has obligated $78 million in assistance to the state, local governments and eligible non-profit agencies. Many of the projects involve the reconstruction of public buildings, roads, and bridges.
Following a disaster there is a focus on mitigation actions when restoring damaged infrastructure, when cost effective, so the repaired facility is better able to withstand future disaster damage. So far, the state and FEMA officials have identified 585 mitigation projects from 1,250 infrastructure projects.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at fema.gov/medialibrary and youtube.com/fema. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/femaregion3.