West Virginia: Controversy over lack of FEMA relief for flood victims


It’s been a very busy week of investigations into flood relief in West Virginia.

All of the rain parts of the state have seen the past few days has been a good reminder of just how serious and quickly floods can become a threat here in the Mountain State, and how long it can take to recover.

It’s hard to believe its been almost three years since the disastrous 2016 West Virginia floods.

This week the Legislature’s Joint Flood Committee met to deal with problems in getting flood relief and repairs doled out, with a promise the work will get done right.

“We’re going to continue to focus on what are the problems and ferreting out the issues that seems to prevent people from getting the relief they so desperately need and deserve. It’s three years after this flood,” said West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson). “This is ridiculous.”

The U.S. Attorney has launched a federal criminal investigation, and other are looking at why some flood victims signed disaster mitigation contracts for tens-of-thousands of dollars to have their homes torn down. Now, their homes are gone, and they haven’t been paid a penny.

“I mean what a tragedy,” said U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia). “We here in our office, have tried to help with constituents that have had ongoing issues with that flood and the

FEMA and federal dollars that have followed.”

2016 flood victims are also being advised to convert to private flood insurance, as their free, three-year FEMA insurance will expire soon.

“People been more concerned about getting their homes rebuilt, their property reconstructed,” explained West Virginia Insurance Commissioner James Dodrill. “Now is the time when these policies go away. If they don’t convert those policies, the next time there is a flood,  they won’t be eligible for FEMA relief.”

The FEMA insurance policies expire in August.

It appears the next scheduled meeting of the Legislature Joint Flooding Committee will be in June. That coincides with the third anniversary of the floods. 

18 of West Virginia’s 55 counties received federal disaster declarations after the 2016 floods.

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