WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, D-Va., and U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va. asked President Joe Biden on Thursday to approve an appeal that would grant federal assistance to individual residents in and around Hurley, Va. who were affected by the severe flooding and mudslides that occurred on Aug. 30, causing extensive damage in the area.

Following an extreme rainfall event, Hurley, Va. and surrounding areas suffered extensive damage, including loss of life and destruction to homes, businesses and critical infrastructure. On Oct. 26, following advocacy by the lawmakers, FEMA approved a Major Disaster Declaration for Buchanan County, Va., opening up a range of federal assistance programs for the area. However, FEMA later denied a request for Individual Assistance, which would have allowed individual Virginians in the area to receive financial assistance and direct services.

“We write today to express our strong support for Virginia Governor Ralph S. Northam’s request for an appeal of the denial of Individual Assistance (IA) for Buchanan County as part of your Major Disaster Declaration that was issued for the county on Oct. 26, 2021,” the lawmakers said in their letter. “While we appreciate your recent issuance of a Major Disaster Declaration for Buchanan County, we concur with the Commonwealth’s assessment that IA should be made available to our constituents to assist in their recovery from this tragic flood event.”

“As you know, IA is an incredibly important tool for communities that have been devastated by natural disasters. FEMA provides IA directly to individuals and households who have sustained significant losses as a direct result of a natural disaster that received a federal disaster declaration. This assistance can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs, uninsured and underinsured property losses, and other critical needs,” the lawmakers stated. “The unlocking of IA for the residents of Hurley would go a long way towards helping this community recover from this extreme weather event.”

In their letter Thursday, the lawmakers stressed the need for help at the individual level to ensure a fulsome recovery, and urged the president’s full and fair consideration of Virginia’s appeal for Individual Assistance for their constituents in Hurley and the surrounding area.

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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