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Justice, lawmakers commemorate 2016 flood in WV

Staff report

The Herald-Dispatch

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice is among the thousands of people who will be participating in events today to commemorate the one-year anniversary of a flash flood that killed 23 people on June 23, 2016.

Justice and other lawmakers on Thursday began their remembrance of the disaster with a ceremonial signing of House Bill 2935, which focused on flood protection planning, in front of Clendenin Advent Christian Church in Clendenin, West Virginia. Clendenin was among those towns that were devastated by the floods last year.

“We are just too good to be kept down by a flood,” Justice said during the event, at which he was joined by Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, and House of Delegates Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha.

The law created the Joint Legislative Committee on Flooding. It will be tasked with working to prevent as much flooding as possible, make sure West Virginians receive as much warning as possible that flooding may happen, and better coordinate response to flooding in the future.

Earlier Thursday, Justice attended an event in Richwood, Nicholas County, which also was severely damaged by the flood, where he presented keys to five newly constructed and furnished homes to people who were affected by the disaster.

Today, Justice will attend the dedication of the 2016 Flood Memorial in White Sulphur Springs and a candlelight service in Rainelle.

On Wednesday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency released information about the recovery effort to date.

Also today, employees of the West Virginia Recovery Office and their West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management colleagues will pause from their work to remember those whose lives were lost and the communities that were devastated.

Since the federal disaster declaration, 4,950 West Virginians received $42 million for individuals and households, according to the news release. Of that total, $35.5 million was provided for housing assistance and $6.6 million was provided for other expenses such as furnishings, transportation and medical.

Communities have received more than $106 million to rebuild their infrastructure and for emergency work projects.

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