CHARLESTON, W.Va – Gov. Joe Manchin has requested a 30-day waiver of the requirement to apply for a federal disaster declaration to President Obama, while officials with FEMA and the State’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management continue to review the costs that may be eligible for reimbursement through FEMA.
In his letter to FEMA, the Governor stated:
“Roads were rendered impassable in these and other counties, and we had to rescue hundreds of stranded motorists at the height of the storm. Thousands of our citizens had to endure up to 10 days without electricity due to downed trees and power lines.
At first review, I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary.”
A declaration involving snow removal is quite different than requesting federal assistance from disasters such as floods, major fires or other catastrophic events and the governor wants to be sure that the state and its political subdivisions will receive the maximum reimbursement if a declaration is made.
Multiple criteria must be met including demonstrating record snowfall as well as a fixed dollar amount per county. This request deals with public assistance for government agencies and other eligible public applicants only. The damage caused during this event does not rise to the level that would allow FEMA Individual Assistance programs to provide assistance to individuals.
Current storm damage estimates without all costs begin submitted exceed $5.8 million.