Governor seeks disaster assistance

Published 11:51 pm Friday, September 2, 2011

The governor has requested federal emergency assistance to help localities, including Suffolk, recoup costs associated with Hurricane Irene.

Gov. Bob McDonnell on Friday asked for a federal disaster declaration to help 22 localities, including Suffolk, recover from Hurricane Irene.

The federal Public Assistance program would make funding available to cover costs for damage to critical infrastructure, debris removal and emergency services related to the storm.

“I do not want to delay the process of getting federal assistance to the local governments that need it,” McDonnell said. “If the President approves my request, then we will be able to add localities as additional damage reports come in to our Department of Emergency Management.”

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The move would not provide federal disaster assistance to individuals, but the governor said a request for such assistance would be made next week if Virginia is eligible. Damage assessments on private property are more complex and take longer to complete. All of the necessary information will not be collected until next week.

“We also will work very hard to determine whether Virginia could be eligible for the federal Individual Assistance program,” McDonnell said. “We urge citizens to work closely with their locality to ensure that the Virginia Department of Emergency Management has all necessary information.”

In addition, McDonnell asked for Hazard Mitigation Assistance for all Virginia localities. That program helps local and state authorities prepare for future disasters.