Botetourt County is one of 17 localities that are now eligible for public assistance to help cover the cost of cleanup and damages after the remnants of Hurricane Florence came through in September.

Gov. Ralph Northam made the announcement last Thursday. The 17 additional localities bring the total to 32 localities are now eligible for Hurricane Florence public assistance, which will provide reimbursement for up to 75 percent of local and state costs incurred as the Commonwealth prepared for and responded to the storm.

According to Cody Sexton, the county was made aware of the designation last week the Botetourt Department of Fire and EMS is evaluating what, if any, county costs will be eligible for assistance.

The designation also allows state agencies such as the Virginia Department of Transportation to recover some of its storm-related costs in localities that have been approved for disaster assistance.

“Virginia continues working closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to secure federal funding to help our communities recover from the impacts of this historic hurricane,” said Northam. “The addition of these 17 localities will greatly improve the economic situation for jurisdictions impacted by flooding, tornadoes, and wind damage from Hurricane Florence.”

Craig County and Roanoke County are also now eligible for the assistance.

Federal funding is available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments, and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair and replacement of facilities damaged by Hurricane Florence.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for all areas statewide. Private property owners must apply through their local government for potential hazard mitigation projects.

This funding may include:

  • Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for debris removal and emergency protective measures taken to save lives and protect property and public health.
  • Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools, recreational areas, and similar publicly owned property.
  • Payment of not more than 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects

Virginia did not qualify for Individual Assistance for Hurricane Florence.

Federal Disaster Funds are awarded after initial response efforts. Communities must determine the amount of damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure. Localities must submit an initial damage assessment to the Virginia Emergency Operations Center, usually within 72 hours. If the damage appears significant, then a team of state and federal personnel may perform an additional assessment.

If the damages appear to meet federal criteria, the Governor may request a Presidential declaration. Only the President has the authority to approve the request, and an approval is not automatic. Many disasters in Virginia have not received a federal declaration.

A federal declaration must include the locality’s name in order to receive aid. There are two main types of federal assistance for individuals and households. A locality may also be eligible for the public assistance program, which reimburses local and state governments and certain private nonprofits for the expenses involved in response and recovery efforts.

Once awarded by FEMA and the President, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management coordinates local government projects and administers the funding on behalf of FEMA. For more information, visit http://www.vaemergency.gov/prepare-recover/.

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