Over the years, I sometimes have wondered what happens to disaster-impacted communities that are turned down for a declaration? That is an area that has received very little attention from researchers, as far as I know. Well, here is one account of how a community fared, and the results are surprisingly positive. See:
GLADE SPRING, Va. — Residents and community leaders were bitterly disappointed two years ago when Virginia was twice denied financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after tornadoes ripped through the state, killing four people in this area.
But now, with the destruction in the rear-view mirror and recovery efforts forging ahead, local leaders say that perhaps not receiving FEMA assistance was a blessing in disguise.
“We pretty much agree within the group that it’s good we didn’t qualify for FEMA,” said Barbara Farmer, chairwoman of the Washington County Long Term Recovery Group, which was formed to help manage the crisis. “[We got to] see how the community came together and churches sent work groups in.”
About $653,000 came in from the state, through the governor’s disaster recovery fund, and the rest of the $1.5 million in recovery efforts spent locally was raised locally.
“We were able to be a little more flexible with the spending,” said Pokey Harris, Washington County’s emergency management coordinator. “We were able to meet more particular, individual needs of people. I wouldn’t say that federal funds would not have helped, but we do know there are a lot of stipends, hurdles and regulations.”
Note: thanks to a reader, here is a direct link to a FEMA-issued Non-Stafford Act Recovery Guide that I did not know about.