Federal Aid on Way to Local Residents



Managing Editor

McMECHEN — Individual residents of Marshall and Wetzel counties are now eligible for federal aid as they work to recover from major flooding that occurred July 28-29.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Saturday that federal disaster assistance has been made available to the state of West Virginia as a result of that weather event. Action by President Donald Trump makes federal funding available to affected West Virginia residents of Harrison and Marion counties as well. That assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Although the flooding also impacted Ohio County, individual residents there are not yet eligible for such assistance. Federal funding is available, however, to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides in Ohio, Doddridge, Monongalia, Preston, Randolph, Taylor, Tucker and Tyler counties. That same funding is also available in Marshall, Wetzel, Harrison and Marion counties.

Tom Hart, director of the Marshall County Office of Emergency Management, was pleased to receive word that both individuals and public entities can receive federal recovery aid.

“We received word about 11 p.m. (Friday) that we had received our presidential and federal disaster declarations, where both public assistance and individual assistance will be available for Marshall County,” Hart said. “On the individual side, residents who were affected or impacted by flooding over July 28-29 will be able to register with FEMA to apply for assistance.

“There are several programs available that they will be able to apply for,” he continued. “Although the assistance won’t make them whole again, it will help them as they’re starting the recovery process.”

Hart stressed that individuals must register by phone or online to be considered for FEMA assistance.

Lou Vargo, Ohio County Emergency Management Agency director, believes Ohio County residents need additional assistance and said efforts to secure that help continue.

“We’re included for public assistance. That includes damage and costs incurred in the city and the county,” Vargo said. “The declaration came out without Ohio County being included (for aid to individuals).

“We’re disappointed,” he continued. “We’ve spoken to our delegation. They have come to review. They are still evaluating.”