By By Edwin Wriston, West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office
| July 9, 2019
The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (WVDHSEM) announced today that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region III will be fulfilling a request from the State of West Virginia for Joint Public Assistance (PA) Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDA) due to recent flash flooding that occurred in West Virginia June 30th, 2019.
FEMA Region III staff will support the State in conducting joint PA PDAs in the following counties: Randolph, Pendleton, Grant, Tucker and Preston, to commence Thursday, July 11, 2019.
These damage assessments are the first step in helping West Virginia Governor Jim Justice determine whether the scope of the damages is beyond what the state is capable of handling and if additional federal assistance is needed. Additional assessments may be requested as damage information is received from local officials.
PDA teams consisting of state, federal, tribal and local officials will assess the impact of the incident on public infrastructure. This includes the cost of emergency measures, such as debris removal, and repair or restoration of public facilities such as roads and buildings.
Once assessments for a jurisdiction are completed, all data collected is turned over to WVDHSEM to help determine eligibility for federal funding as detailed under The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5207 < tel:5121-5207 > (the Stafford Act) §401.
If WVDHSEM believes the damages "are beyond state and local capabilities," the Governor will submit a written request to the President and specify the type of assistance needed and which counties are affected. If approved by the President, the declaration will specify what forms of federal aid and assistance are available to the state and local communities for recovery and mitigation efforts."
"The June 30, 2019 flooding event did significant damage to public infrastructure within the listed counties," stated Mike Todorovich, Director of WVDHSEM. "From bridges and roads being washed out to school damages, we are glad FEMA is on the ground working with us and our partner agencies us to fully access the extent of damage, including total cost estimates. This data will allow us to move forward in the Federal Disaster Declaration process to hopefully speed recovery to the impacted communities."
For further information on the Preliminary Damage Assessment process, go to: https://www.fema.gov/disaster-declaration-process