The federal government has approved disaster assistance for individuals and business owners for damage resulting from the 5.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Virginia on Aug. 23, Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Friday. A week ago, he had appealed FEMA’s initial decision to deny the assistance.
“Many of our fellow Virginians who call Louisa home are hurting, and this is critically needed during a very trying time,” said McDonnell. “The once-in-one hundred year earthquake that struck Virginia in August caused significant damage that was not covered by homeowner’s insurance. Many homes and businesses have been extensively damaged. This assistance is a key resource for families and business owners who have been trying to recover for more than two months.”
Mr. McDonnell also thanked Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb, Rep. Eric Cantor and the state’s entire congressional delegation for their support. His appeal included a letter from the state’s Congressional delegation backing the governor.
Individuals and families that need earthquake aid can register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) Monday-Friday from 7 a.m.-1 a.m. Eastern Time, and Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time. They can also register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, and, for those with smart phones, at m.fema.gov.
Business owners can apply to FEMA for low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration; those applying should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves - name, Social Security number, address and phone number, as well as insurance coverage and information.
“Officials in Louisa and Richmond, Governor McDonnell, and Virginia’s entire U.S. House and Senate delegation worked together to help get this done, and Virginia’s persistent and unified approach produced results,” said Sen. Mark Warner. “This really is the best news I’ve heard in some time.”
McDonnell also announced Friday that FEMA has denied the state’s request for inidividual assistance to help property owners affected by Tropical Storm Lee in September.
Five storm-related deaths were confirmed by the state: three in Fairfax County, one in Southampton and one in Orange. More than 100 homes and businesses were destroyed or sustained major damage, and about 500 people were displaced from their homes as a result.
“We are disappointed that FEMA has again denied assistance to Virginians,” Gov. McDonnell said. “Heavy rain and flooding caused severe damage in Fairfax and Prince William Counties and federal assistance is critical in helping people who suffered significant losses and were displaced from their homes.”
Individual assistance makes funding available to homeowners, renters and businesses through low-interest loans and grants, unemployment assistance, disaster housing assistance and crisis counseling.
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management will recommend whether to appeal this denial or to apply for Small Business Association (SBA) loans, which could provide loans of up to $200,000 for homeowners to repair or replace real estate and $40,000 for personal property damage. Businesses and nonprofits could apply for loans of up to $2 million to repair or replaced real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory, or other business assets.