FEMA denies individual assistance for Hurley residences ravaged by floods

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HURLEY, Va. (WJHL) — In a response to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied the request of Individual Assistance to those impacted by the Aug. 30 flooding in Buchanan County that left one person dead.

A letter from FEMA forwarded from Northam’s office reads that the flooding’s impact to the individuals and households “was not of such severity and magnitude to warrant the designation of Individual Assistance…Therefore, your request for Individual Assistance is denied.”

The raging waters destroyed more than 20 Buchanan County homes, ripping structures from their foundations and displacing dozens upon dozens of community members.

FEMA added that the state could appeal the assistance denial within 30 days of the letter being sent.

The letter from FEMA is dated Oct. 29, 2021, giving Northam’s office until Dec. 28 to justify the appeal.

Congressman Morgan Griffith wrote a letter to Northam dated Monday, Nov. 1 encouraging him to appeal the decision.

“I write today to thank you for the federal disaster assistance you have helped obtain for Buchanan County. I also write to encourage you to appeal the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denial of Individual Assistance for Buchanan County to repair the damage caused by flooding, landslides, and mudslides that occurred on August 30 and August 31, 2021.”

Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA)

In his letter, Griffith touches on President Biden’s issuance of a Major Disaster Declaration for all of Virginia after the August rainfall. However, Griffith wrote that as a result FEMA “only provided for Public Assistance for Buchanan County and Hazard Mitigation for the entire Commonwealth, not the individual houses and businesses that were destroyed.”

Griffith wrote that like Northam, he has also visited the Hurley community and seen the damage in the area up close.

You can read Griffith’s full letter to Northam below:

Months later, destruction is still being assessed in the Hurley area where the community continues its efforts to rebuild its home.

The Hurley Long Term Recovery Group has raised over $236,000 as of Nov. 4 toward relief. To donate, CLICK HERE.

This is a developing story. Stay updated on-air and online at WJHL.com.

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