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Speed federal aid to our area

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register editorial

Thousands of people in our region of West Virginia were harmed, some severely, by flash flooding in late July. Many still need help and will for months, perhaps years, to come.

With the stroke of a pen, President Donald Trump can get some of that aid flowing from the federal government.

Much of the assistance the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other arms of government can provide is contingent on presidential declarations that areas affected by calamities such as floods are disaster areas. Without such action, there will be little or no more help for flood victims in our area.

Gov. Jim Justice has submitted a formal request for action by the president. He asks that Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Tyler, Doddridge, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Randolph, Taylor and Tucker counties be declared a disaster area.

A critical part of Justice’s request is that the president approve assistance to individuals in Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, Harrison and Marion counties, which were the hardest hit by the July floods. That stipulation is important if FEMA is to provide relief assistance directly to individuals and families.

All five of our state’s members of Congress — Republicans Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Rep. David McKinley, Rep. Evan Jenkins and Rep. Alex Mooney; and Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin have sent a letter to Trump in support of the governor’s request.

This is not a step either the governor or our members of Congress take lightly. It reflects their understanding of the devastation — and that is the correct word — caused by the floods.

Every day flood victims have to wait for help from Washington makes their struggle more difficult. We join the governor and our members of Congress, then, in urging President Trump to issue the disaster declaration as sought by Justice, and to do so immediately.

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