CHARLESTON, WV – Flooding, landslides, mudslides and wind damage in eight counties, from severe storms during the week of Memorial Day, have prompted Gov. Jim Justice to seek a major disaster declaration from President Donald J.Trump. Gov. Justice had declared a State of Emergency for Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan and Pendleton counties on June 4, after significant rainfall that started May 28. Submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the letter from Gov. Justice requests Public Assistance for those eight counties and Hazard Mitigation Assistance statewide. The joint preliminary damage assessment for this event identified more than $4.5 million in eligible costs and damage, Gov. Justice told the president. Hampshire County was at the center of the affected area with over 40 percent of the verified damage, his letter said. Gov. Justice noted that 2018 has been marked by a series of flooding events in the Mountain State, with President Trump issuing a major disaster declaration for 20 counties in response to major flooding in February. “Fortunately, this most recent disaster did not result in any reported injuries or deaths,” Gov. Justice wrote. “However, this disaster could have had far more tragic consequences had it not been for the local responders and National Guard personnel who effected 18 swift water rescues.” Public Assistance aids state and local governments as well as certain private nonprofit organizations with debris removal, emergency protective measures and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities. Gov. Justice requested all available categories of Public Assistance for the eight counties. Governor Justice told the president that the resources expended included road closures, evacuations and rescues by local, state and volunteer responders; debris removal and emergency measures by the state Division of Highways; stream evaluations by the West Virginia Conservation Agency; swift-water rescues and liaison deployments by the National Guard; and overall response coordination by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Hazard Mitigation Assistance helps to fund measures meant to prevent or reduce long-term risk posed by natural hazards to life and property. “This disaster is an unfortunate continuation of the series of storms that have continued to plague portions of West Virginia,” Gov. Justice wrote, adding that “I believe this event created conditions that are beyond local and state capability to effectively respond.”
View the Disaster Declaration Letter here.