West Virginians displaced by floods find federal, local assistance

West Virginians displaced by floods find federal, local assistance
Sara Weber, Deseret News

Weeks after floods devastated West Virginia, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Wednesday that it would provide some of those who were displaced with temporary mobile homes.

Local volunteers are stepping up to help as well.

The announcement comes after a series of rain-induced flooding in late June that killed at least 23 people and destroyed numerous homes and businesses. Around 9 inches of rain quickly fell in some parts of the state, prompting the National Guard to send over 200 members. On June 23, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency in 44 of the state’s 55 counties, and President Barack Obama declared it a disaster area shortly after.

“We were just sitting on the couch talking,” Dwyatt Bostic told the Charleston Gazette-Mail after his apartment was damaged. “I heard the asphalt cracking and popping. I said, ‘That ain’t good.’ We grabbed our cellphones, went right down the steps and went over there and boom, it caved in.”

According to The Associated Press, FEMA hasn’t specified the amount of mobile homes it will provide but said eligible tenants will be allowed to live in the one- or two-bedroom units rent-free for 18 months. The homes will be installed in Kanawha and Greenbrier counties first where the flooding caused the most damage.

A FEMA spokesperson called the mobile homes a “last resort,” after failing to find other housing options. The agency is also holding workshops at hardware stores to help West Virginians learn to repair and prevent future damage, according to its website.

Volunteers from West Virginia and neighboring states have also ramped up efforts by continuing to help some of the 1,200 families find relief after the floods.

Red Cross representatives traveled from North Carolina to help build shelter, cook meals and provide supplies for those affected by the floods, WNCN reported.

Also, West Virginia native Jennifer Garner is also making efforts to help her home state by selling T-shirts and hosting a fundraiser later this month.

Those interested in volunteering or donating to families affected by the floods in West Virginia can visit www.volunteerwv.org or www.wvvoad.communityos.org.

Email: sweber@deseretnews.com; Twitter: @sarapweber

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