WASHINGTON, D.C. – Friday, President Donald Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of West Virginia and ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing, according to a White House news release.
Federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, for all areas in the State of West Virginia impacted by COVID-19, the release said.
MaryAnn Tierney was named by FEMA officials as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in West Virginia, officials said.
Earlier this week, the West Virginia Congressional Delegation sent a letter to President Trump asking that Gov. Jim Justice’s request for the declaration be approved.
“I want to thank President Trump for quickly approving my request for this disaster declaration,” Gov. Justice said. “West Virginia has taken extraordinary measures to protect our citizens and keep them safe and healthy and this allows us to take full advantage of federal resources,” said Justice.
“This emergency declaration provides West Virginia greater access to financial resources through the federal government to combat this pandemic,” Senator Shelley Moore Capito said. “I’ve been, and will remain, in contact with administration officials, particularly at FEMA at the national and regional levels, to make sure West Virginia’s priorities are heard. As chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, I’ve also ensured that funds have been funneled into the Disaster Relief Fund for the needs we are facing as a nation during these challenging times. I thank President Trump for these needed resources that will help so many in West Virginia during this uncertain time,” Capito said.
“We know our population in West Virginia is among the most vulnerable to complications from the coronavirus. Our healthcare professionals need all the help they can get when it comes to providing the care necessary to get us through this time. They need personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, and tests to be able to protect themselves while they are caring for others. This disaster declaration will help West Virginia receive the funding and assistance we need to fight this terrible virus. I thank President Trump for his approval of West Virginia’s major disaster declaration, and I will continue to fight for West Virginia to receive more funding that supports our state and citizens,” said Senator Joe Manchin.