Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell is putting an anticipated $600,000 year-end surplus toward disaster relief in areas of the state hurt by severe weather and tornadoes last month.
The governor made the announcement a week after he appealed a refusal by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to send federal aid to damaged Virginia counties. A FEMA spokesman has said that Virginia’s request was turned down because of an assessment that state and local governments had the capability to recover without national help.
“There is much work left to be done and more resources are needed in order to rebuild,” Mr. McDonnell said.
The governor appealed to residents and businesses to offer support to the victims of the natural disasters, saying the state funding and donations “will provide needed aid to those who are putting their lives back together after these severe storms.”
About a half-dozen tornadoes descended on the area, in central Virginia between Washington and Richmond, in Prince George’s County in Maryland, and in Prince William County in Virginia, over a two-day period in late April, according to the National Weather Service.
Mr. McDonnell had requested FEMA funding to help Halifax, Pulaski and Washington counties recover from tornadoes, which killed 10 and left 100 injured and 212 homes damaged. FEMA bases funding awards on the amount of damage caused, existing insurance coverage in the area and the ability of local governments to respond.
The governor established a fund to collect tax-deductible donations from companies, nonprofits and individuals. The state contribution and other donations will go toward the Virginia Disaster Relief Fund. Charities and local governments partnering with volunteer groups may request funding for efforts to assist victims of the tornadoes and severe weather.
A committee managing the fund includes representatives from the Virginia departments of Emergency Management, Housing and Community Development, and Social Services, and other volunteer organizations.