By August 3, 2017 Read More →

McKinley, FEMA discuss flood damage in county

By CARTER WALKER

Times West Virginian

MANNINGTON, W.Va. — Congressman David McKinley, R-W.Va., visited Mannington Wednesday to assess flood damage and speak with impacted residents.

Congressman David McKinley, R-W.Va., speaks with a FEMA official at the Nativibes Art Gallery about their relief efforts.
(Photo by Carter Walker)

McKinley met with store owners and aid workers before discussing the disaster evaluation process with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Anthony Fluharty, owner of Something Special on Railroad Street, told McKinley how his store had been affected by the flood. The store had been under 3 feet of water and most of its merchandise had been damaged beyond a sellable condition.

McKinley asked Fluharty how his interactions with FEMA had been, and said that if things were not going well that he should let him know so that McKinley could speak to FEMA.

Chris McIntire, director of the Marion County Department of Homeland Security, gave McKinley a rundown of the number of houses impacted in Marion County. He said a total of 522 houses were affected, 70 of which had major damage and 35 of which were destroyed.

McKinley then visited the Red Cross station across from First Exchange Bank, and went into a temporary supplies distribution center in the Nativibes Art Gallery.

Workers in Nativibes told McKinley they were still in need of help.

Marion County Commission President Ernie VanGilder said total relief effort costs for the county are not in yet, but that money distributed to affected areas has reached $45,000.

At the end of his tour, McKinley held a press conference with FEMA representatives to discuss the damage assessment process.

“What we’re trying to do is avoid the politics on this and just make sure we’re going to get what we’re entitled to,” McKinley said. “This is a big first step to have FEMA come in and do this inventory of damages.”

Joe DeNuro, a FEMA individual assistant from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, said there isn’t a specific threshold of damage that an event needs to cause for it to qualify for FEMA relief, rather that it depends on the total impact on the community.

“This is the very preliminary beginning of this process,” DeNuro said. “We’re out here looking at every home that individuals and the state have identified was damaged.”

DeNuro said that once their assesment is completed, the governor will put in a request with FEMA management in Washington, D.C.. It then will be reviewed by the department of Homeland Security before finally being reviewed by the president, who will decide if it is a natural disaster that qualifies for FEMA relief.

Home owners can only apply for FEMA relief once the event has been declared a disaster. So far, FEMA has inspected 10 homes.

“All this sounds like a huge process, but it doesn’t take that long usually,” DeNuro said, but told McKinley he didnt have a more specific timeline than that.

Residents who need to report damage to their home should call the Marion County Emergency Operation Center at 304-636-5062 or 304-363-5079, and email pictures of flood damage to mariondisaster@marioncounty911.org.

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