CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Monday visited Greenbrier and Kanawha counties, two of the areas hit hardest by the devastating floods on Thursday and Friday.
“As a lifelong resident of southern West Virginia, I am all too familiar with flooding and know how it can devastate a community,” Gov. Tomblin said. “But of all the floods I have witnessed in my life, and particularly in my time as governor, I have never seen tragedy like we have experienced in several of our communities in the past four days. Families have lost everything — homes and loved ones, even children. Visiting Rainelle and Clendenin today made this heartache even more real for me today.
“Today I talked with Mike Todorovich, a pastor in Clendenin whose church sustained major damage,” Gov. Tomblin continued. “Before the floodwaters rose, Mike saw people sleeping in their cars in the church parking lot, so he brought them into the church, where they remained safe on the second floor. He is one of many, many heroes in this tragedy.”
At least 20 lives have been lost across the state as a result of flooding, and three more people are missing and presumed dead. More than 400 people remain in shelters and initial estimates indicate that more than 1,000 homes could be destroyed or damaged beyond repair. The West Virginia National Guard has 470 troops on the ground, in addition to first responders, volunteers and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) representatives who are presently assessing damage county-by-county to determine eligibility for federal assistance.
On Saturday, FEMA approved Gov. Tomblin’s request for a federal disaster declaration, which is providing individual assistance in Kanawha, Greenbrier and Nicholas counties. Additional requests for federal assistance are anticipated this week.
People who need cleanup assistance, are available to volunteer or want to donate should visit https://wvvoad.communityos.org/cms/ or connect with an agency in their local community. Individuals and businesses in counties that have been declared federal disaster areas should visit www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).