Local Flood Victims in West Virginia Urged To Meet Deadline

A local task force consisting of volunteers and various organizations is working to ensure area residents meet deadlines to receive federal assistance in the wake of July’s destructive flash floods.

According to Marshall County Family Resource Network Executive Director Stacie Dei, less than one-third of those affected by the flooding have reported their damage to FEMA.

She said in McMechen alone, 160 homes were destroyed or sustained major damage, with over 500 homes suffering minor damages. However, only about 200 people in the area have applied for federal assistance, and FEMA’s deadline for applications for assistance is Oct. 17.

Dei said residents could be eligible for assistance no matter how great or small the damage. Residents who don’t live in a declared federal disaster area are still encouraged to register through FEMA to be put in a database, allowing community-based support organizations to fill gaps of need.

Dei added many Marshall County residents are still displaced due to flood damage.

FEMA officials are still on hand in McMechen at the former Bishop Donahue High School to help those affected complete registrations and residents can call 800-621-3362 for assistance. Appalachian Outreach Inc. can be reached at 304-233-3850.

United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley Associate Director Jessica Rine said residents may be more comfortable speaking with local representatives.

“It’s important for people to know we are members of this community. I think right now they’re being pushed in a lot of directions by officials to register for FEMA. We are a group of local residents and we are encouraging people to register through this system,” Rine said.

The recovery group, which includes United Way, Catholic Charities, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Marshall County FRN, Appalachian Outreach and others, also urges residents to keep all receipts and take photos of damage, as all funding sources will need efficient documentation.

Online registration is available at disaster assistance.gov.