MASON COUNTY — Since President Obama granted an Emergency Disaster Declaration for the state of West Virginia, many Mason County residents have been wondering exactly what the means to them.
Nicholas Morici of the Federal Emergency Management Agency is on the ground in West Virginia, working with state agencies to provide federal assistance to the state. Morici said since FEMA is operating under the Emergency Disaster Declaration, this means it allows the federal government to provide requested supplies directly to the state who then in turn can distribute those supplies to residents.
Morici said a Major Disaster Declaration would have to be requested by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and granted by President Obama to allow FEMA to respond to individual home owners or neighborhoods directly. So far, this Major Disaster Declaration has not been requested, Morici said, which means FEMA is operating in a response phase to the power outage. The state is still the lead agency during this disaster though it is receiving help and federal aid from FEMA in the form of commodities like water, food, generators, etc.
If there’s been any damages to homes or property, owners should work with their insurance companies, Morici said. He also added if people have others needs (shelter, food, water, etc.) they should contact their local emergency management agency so that agency can be of assistance and be aware of where (and what) the community’s needs are at this time.
The Mason County Emergency Operations Center announced the shelter which had been opened at Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School is now closed due to lack of need now that several residents (thought not all) have had their power restored.
Also, bottled water is still available at all local fire departments who those who need it.
In addition, ready to eat meals are available at the Mason County 911/Emergency Operations Center in Point Pleasant and can be picked up from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Friday, July 6. Meals were given away on Thursday as well.
As for the commodities FEMA has contributed to the state since the disaster, Morici said, to date, 600,000 gallons of water (123 tractor trailer loads) have been provided as well as 300,000 meals and 110 generators. These generators were for critical infrastructure only such as for hospitals, water systems, etc. Again, though the federal government provided these commodities, it is up to the state to distribute them.