President Obama approved disaster assistance for Virginia communities overwhelmed by storms that left more than 1 million people without power and ravaged dozens of counties across the state.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse the state and 62 local governments in the cleanup of the swift but devastating derecho and ensuing storms from June 29 to July 1. The natural disaster was one of the most violent non-hurricanes on record and left 15 dead and knocked out power to 1.3 million Virginia customers, the third greatest outage in state history.
The state will also receive funds to invest in projects that will reduce the risk of damage in future disasters.
Costs that are eligible for federal reimbursement include emergency personnel, the opening of cooling centers when power was out, cleanup and repairing public property, like roads and sewer systems, according to Gov. Bob McDonnell's office.
In the past year, Virginia has been rocked by several natural disasters, including tornadoes, tropical storms and a rare earthquake. The federal government provided no aid after some of those disasters and, in other cases, provided aide only after McDonnell lobbied the president. But the federal response to the latest storm was much faster.
"I salute all those who have been heavily involved in disaster assistance throughout the commonwealth for more than a year now - the many volunteers and voluntary organizations as well as local and state agencies and governments," McDonnell said. "It truly takes everyone working together to help our families and communities recover from disasters."
The following communities will receive assistance:
Albemarle, Alleghany, Amelia, Amherst, Appomattox, Arlington, Augusta, Bath, Bedford, Bland, Botetourt, Buckingham, Campbell, Carroll, Charlotte, Clarke, Craig, Culpeper, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Fauquier, Floyd, Fluvanna, Frederick, Giles, Greene, Halifax, Highland, Louisa, Lunenburg, Madison, Nelson, New Kent, Nottoway, Orange, Page, Pittsylvania, Powhatan, Prince Edward, Pulaski, Rappahannock, Roanoke, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Shenandoah, Tazewell and Warren; and the cities of Bedford, Charlottesville, Covington, Danville, Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Lexington, Lynchburg, Manassas Park, Martinsville, Radford, Roanoke, Salem, Staunton, and Winchester.