Kanawha County officials preparing for FEMA meeting on flood damage

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Federal Emergency Management Agency officials will meet with Kanawha County leaders on Tuesday regarding damages from flooding last month.

Communities in Kanawha and Fayette counties were affected by high water when flooding damaged more than 100 homes in addition to roads and local infrastructure systems. Crews have removed more than 350 tons of debris during cleanup efforts in the weeks following the flooding.

“We had a lot of structural damage, a lot of water in homes,” Kanawha County Emergency Management Director C.W. Sigman said Thursday during the Kanawha County Commission’s meeting. “I keep saying this: No loss of life, no homes washed away, no people were washed away, no responders were injured.”

According to Sigman, the county’s expenses for debris removal, assessments and repairs total more than $970,000; the amount does not include state-maintained properties. The threshold for a damage report submitted to the state is $741,000.

“We believe these numbers are FEMA rock solid, don’t we?” Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said.

“Yes, sir,” Sigman answered.

Sigman noted crews have repaired most roads and bridges impacted by the flooding. Carper said the local and state response has been tremendous.

“All that being said, we still have a lot of people that have had severe damage to their homes, and to date, they haven’t gotten a nickel from the federal government,” the commission president said.

Gov. Jim Justice issued a state of emergency for Kanawha and Fayette counties following the flooding event. Kanawha County officials have worked with state agencies on the response and recovery efforts.

“It’ll be up to the governor, but I think it’s very close to qualifying for a disaster declaration,” Carper added.

Kanawha County and FEMA officials will survey areas affected by flooding. County officials already have estimates from contractors regarding the costs of possible projects.