CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Representatives from a federal disaster relief agency said Thursday that hundreds of thousands of dollars are still available for people whose homes and businesses suffered heavy damage from this summer's storms.
Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency said during a Kanawha County Commission meeting that 1,910 people in the four counties that the agency designated for funding have applied for storm damage reimbursements. Kanawha County alone had about 400 applicants.
"We've got to do a better job of getting this out," said Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper. "This should be our number one priority."
FEMA initially denied Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's request for individual assistance for 24 West Virginia counties. Tomblin appealed, and asked for help in four: Kanawha, Nicholas, Raleigh and Fayette.
Forty-two percent of the homes destroyed by the storm were in those counties along with 60 percent of the homes that sustained major damage.
FEMA set up a disaster recovery center in the basement of the South Charleston Community Center on 601 Jefferson Road. The center will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The center will remain open until Oct. 24.
"We want to get the information out to as many people as possible," FEMA External Affairs Officer Don Jacks said Thursday.
Jacks said FEMA has mounted an aggressive public relations campaign in West Virginia to spread the word.
Residents can still apply for assistance by calling 1-800-621-FEMA or by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov.