FEMA Denies Individual Assistance for Tropical Storm Lee

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Hunter Mill Rd.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has denied Governor Bob McDonnell’s request for Individual Assistance to help property owners affected by Tropical Storm Lee, which brought heavy rains and flooding to Virginia September 8-9.

On September 9, Governor McDonnell declared a state of emergency in response to flooding as a result of remnants of Tropical Storm Lee.  Five storm-related deaths were confirmed by the Virginia Department of Health Office of the Chief Medical Examiner: three in Fairfax County, one in Southampton County and one in Orange County.

“We are disappointed that FEMA has again denied assistance to Virginians,” said Gov. McDonnell.  “Heavy rain and flooding caused severe damage in Fairfax and Prince William Counties and federal assistance is critical in helping people who suffered significant losses and were displaced from their homes.”

The Individual Assistance Program would have made funding available to homeowners, renters and businesses in the form of low-interest loans and grants, unemployment assistance, disaster housing assistance and crisis counseling.  Damage assessments after Lee found more than 100 homes and business that were destroyed or sustained major damage. Approximately 500 people were displaced from their homes in Prince William County

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management will make a recommendation to Governor McDonnell on whether to appeal FEMA’s denial or to apply for SBA loans.

If a request for SBA assistance is approved, loans up to $200,000 would be available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate.  Homeowners and renters would be eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.  Businesses and nonprofit organizations of any size could apply for loans up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.