MARSHALL COUNTY, W.Va. — Less than a month after devastating flooding in parts of northern West Virginia, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is taking registrations for recovery assistance from residents in four counties: Marshall, Marion, Wetzel and Harrison.
Residents and business owners in those counties qualify for individual assistance under a Federal Disaster Declaration for damage sustained in storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides that started on July 28 and continued into July 29.
“We had so many people that they just didn’t have flood insurance,” said Tom Hart, director of the Marshall County Office of Emergency Management.
“They’ve never been flooded before. Some areas, they were not even within the floodplain, so it’s actually able to assist them.”
More than three weeks later, Hart said the damage remained especially bad in McMechen.
“Out of 984 homes in the city, we had 510 that were affected somehow — anywhere from just minor damage to destroyed just in that area of the county alone,” Hart said. “It’s getting better, it’s improving, but we still have folks that are still trying to get cleaned up.”
Coming up at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, city officials in McMechen were scheduled to hold a town hall meeting focused on available flood assistance at the McMechen Community Center.
Individual assistance can include coverage for costs of temporary housing, grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance, grants to replace personal property, unemployment payments and low-interest loans for residential losses.
“It’s not going to make them whole, but it will assist them with the recovery efforts,” Hart said of the available help.
Other relief programs include crisis counseling for those traumatized by the disaster, income tax assistance for filing casualty losses along with advisory assistance for legal, veterans’ benefits and Social Security matters.
Starting this weekend, initial registrations for FEMA assistance from those in the designated counties were being collected via phone at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
Applicants with speech disabilities or hearing loss who use TTY should call 1-800-462-7585 directly, while those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) can call 1-800-621-3362.
Phone line hours were from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Along with individual assistance in the four counties, public assistance for infrastructure repairs and other government flood recovery costs has been granted in the following 12 counties total:
Doddridge, Harrison, Marion, Marshall, Monongalia, Ohio, Preston, Randolph, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler, and Wetzel.
A request for individual assistance in Ohio County was not granted, but additions could be made later to the Federal Disaster Declaration if warranted, according to federal officials.