McDonnell to appeal FEMA decision, Hurt agrees

By Dan McDermott
The Lynchburg Times

Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell announced today that he is appealing FEMA’s decision to deny Virginia’s request for federal disaster relief following dozens of tornadoes that killed 10 and destroyed hundreds of homes.

5th District Congressman Robert Hurt released a statement saying he agrees with McDonnell’s decision.

Statement from Rep. Robert Hurt:

“The Obama Administration’s decision to deny Virginia’s request for federal disaster assistance for those areas affected by last month’s tornadoes was disappointing.

“Having seen firsthand the destruction the storms caused in the 5th District, I want to thank Governor McDonnell for appealing the Administration’s decision.

“I appreciate the continued support of the Governor on this issue as well as the efforts on the state and local level to ensure that those impacted by the severe weather in the 5th District and across the Commonwealth receive the assistance they need to recover from these devastating storms.

“I look forward to continuing to work with Governor McDonnell and the members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation in helping to provide the necessary federal resources, and I encourage all Virginians to continue to look for ways to assist the victims of these storms in the rebuilding efforts.”

Those interested in aiding in the rebuilding efforts can visit or

Release from Gov. McDonnell:

The Governor made three separate requests for FEMA’s Individual Assistance program: for Pulaski County; for Halifax and Washington counties; and a request to consider April 8-28 as one period so that other localities such as Gloucester and Middlesex counties could be added. All three requests were denied. All three will be appealed.

“Local and state governments and volunteers are doing all they can to help, but federal assistance would make a big difference in ensuring that hundreds of Virginians recover from this devastation,” Governor McDonnell said. “I urge FEMA to reconsider this decision and to expedite my request. I also sincerely appreciate the tremendous assistance we have received from our entire Congressional delegation in making and now moving forward with this decision. This has been a bipartisan effort and I want to particularly thank Congressmen Morgan Griffith, Robert Hurt and Robb Wittman and Senator Mark Warner for their leadership and commitment to ensuring we take every step possible to help Virginians who have been harmed by these horrific storms.”

“I am extremely heartened by all the work our citizens and volunteers are doing to help each other recover from this disaster,” said Governor McDonnell. “But it is going to take time for some of our communities to be restored. We simply need more resources. Homes, businesses and property have been lost. Jobs have been jeopardized; and people are suffering. We want to do all we can to make sure Virginians have what they need to get back on their feet and on with their lives.”

The Individual Assistance Program would make funding available to homeowners and renters in the form of low-interest loans and grants, unemployment assistance, disaster housing assistance and crisis counseling.

Last week, the Governor encouraged private companies, non-profit organizations, volunteers, faith-based organizations and citizens to rally to provide additional aid to communities across Virginia that were affected by April’s severe weather and tornadoes. He also established a tornado relief fund for people who wish to send donations to the victims. Donations can be made by checks payable to Treasurer of Virginia with “tornado relief” noted in the memo line. Send checks to Comptroller’s Office, P.O. Box 1971, Richmond, VA 23218-1971. Donations are tax deductible.

During three severe weather events in April, at least 30 tornadoes hit Virginia, killing 10 people and injuring more than 100. Approximately 212 homes were destroyed, and more than 1,050 homes and businesses were damaged.

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