Disaster declaration for May storms in Cabell, Putnam, Roane counties denied by FEMA, Justice says

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A presidential disaster declaration related to last month’s flooding in Cabell, Putnam and Roane counties has been denied, Gov. Jim Justice announced on Tuesday.

The request was submitted to President Joe Biden and FEMA in hopes of securing financial assistance for communities and small business owners affected by high water on May 6. Justice and Huntington Mayor Steve Williams toured the damage May 9.

“We’ve been informed that FEMA has ruled that the damage from the storm was not enough to qualify for the counties of Cabell, Putnam and Roane counties,” Justice said during his coronavirus briefing.

Local officials and the West Virginia Emergency Management Division used various technology and tools to collect data on the impact of flooding. The Cabell County Emergency Management used drone footage to understand the extent of damages.

MetroNews previously reported more than 100 homes were damaged after the flash flooding event. The damage was widespread, but concentrated in the Enslow Park area of Huntington.

The storm caused a number of water rescues, power outages and road blockages. A man died being swept away by floodwaters in Milton.

Justice said that the state will appeal the decision.

“We’re pushing back. We have 30 days to appeal and we’re going to do so. We’re going to push as hard as we possibly can. It’s a disappointment to tell you the truth,” the governor stated.

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