On October 21st, Governor Terry McAuliffe asked President Barack Obama for a federal disaster declaration for the Commonwealth of Virginia to address the damage sustained from Hurricane Matthew. The requested assistance was in the form of Individual Assistance Programs and Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loans, and would be available for the cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach, as well as Isle of Wight and York counties.
“This storm severely impacted nine localities, causing significant damage to public and private property, essential infrastructure, agriculture, and eligible nonprofit organizations,” said Governor McAuliffe. “I have determined that the severity of destruction requires a response that is beyond the capabilities of the state and affected local governments and supplemental federal assistance is necessary. It is my hope that the President will approve this request and these localities and the Virginia families, businesses and nonprofits who reside in them can get resources to help with the ongoing effort to recover from this storm.”
The Individual Assistance Programs include the Individuals and Households Program, Transitional Sheltering Assistance, Disaster Case Management, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling, and Disaster Legal Services. If the declaration is granted, these programs would provide affected Virginians with assistance for disaster housing, unemployment assistance, individual housing grants, legal services and crisis counseling.
Damage assessments, conducted jointly by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), FEMA, the SBA, and localities, indicated that more than 2,000 homes were determined to have damage from Matthew, ranging from minor to destroyed. Many of these homes were uninsured because they lie outside flood zones. The storm displaced approximately 620 individuals due to flooding. The damage assessment teams also identified an initial $13.2 million in estimated damages sustained by public facilities and structures.