Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
Webb to FEMA: why deny Louisa earthquake aid?
Virginia Sen. Jim Webb has sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, asking the agency to explain its reason for denying Virginia’s application for individual assistance for Louisa earthquake victims.
In a letter to FEMA administrator Craig Fugate, Webb asked for a “detailed rationale” of the denial; recommendations for how Virginia can appeal and reverse the decision; and suggestions for alternative funds through FEMA and other federal agencies that could help Virginians after disasters.
“Louisa County has documented close to 1000 damaged homes, including a number of homes that were completely destroyed,” Webb wrote. ” The quake caused structural damage to churches, schools, and even caused the shutdown of nuclear power stations in North Anna. More troubling, is the fact that the overwhelming majority of residents in this rural community lack adequate earthquake insurance protection, necessitating government assistance in a time of great need.”
The 5.8 magnitude earthquake on Aug. 23 was centered in Louisa County. It has caused an estimated $15 million in damages to private property and forced the closure of two county schools. Gov. Bob McDonnell had applied to FEMA for individual assistance, which would have helped Louisa residents pay for repairs to homes and businesses. FEMA denied that claim, and McDonnell has said he will appeal. McDonnell and other leaders invited President Barack Obama to tour the Louisa damage when he was in Virginia this week, but Obama declined.