CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After touring flood-affected areas in central West Virginia and other parts of the state, and witnessing substantial damage, Gov. Joe Manchin has expanded the state of emergency declared June 4, 2008, to six additional counties and the surrounding regions.
Those additional counties are Calhoun, Clay, Gilmer, Jefferson, Ritchie and Wirt, and the counties that surround them. The state of emergency still includes the counties named on June 4: Barbour, Doddridge, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Taylor and surrounding counties.
Along with a representative from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Manchin on Thursday joined West Virginia Adj. Gen. Allen Tackett, Jimmy Gianato, director of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and James Spears, cabinet secretary of Military Affairs and Public Safety, for aerial and on-the-ground tours of flood-affected areas in Harrison, Marion and Gilmer counties.
They visited with residents and county officials in hard-hit Boothsville, and toured a water-logged downtown Glenville.
“We are doing everything humanly possible to get assistance to our citizens who’ve been hit by this flooding and its aftermath,” Manchin said. “We want to minimize any suffering, so we’ve got the right people on the ground now, but we need your help to determine just how much damage we’ve suffered.”
The governor has activated the West Virginia National Guard to assist in the cleanup effort.
Gov. Manchin also has ordered an assessment to determine if the damage warrants a federal disaster declaration, which makes available additional federal assistance. The governor urges citizens to contact their local county emergency services offices to report flood and storm damages to their homes and businesses.
Contact information for local county emergency offices is available at the Division of Homeland Security’s web site, www.wvdhsem.gov, or by calling 304-558-5380.
The flooding was caused by severe thunderstorms and heavy, sustained rains earlier this week that disrupted transportation and caused considerable flooding, mudslides, downed trees and property damage. The declaration activates the state’s Emergency Operations Plan and Emergency Operations Center.
The state of emergency allows the governor to direct special resources to the affected areas that otherwise would not be available. The state of emergency remains in effect for 30 days unless extended or rescinded by another proclamation by the governor.
Photographs from Thursday’s tour of flooded areas are available at www.wvgov.org, in the photo gallery