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Gov. Terry McAuliffe made good on his promise Friday to write Washington to request federal aid for Virginians affected by Hurricane Matthew.
The hurricane hit Virginia on Oct. 8 in an unexpected way, bringing up to 17 inches of rain to Hampton Roads days after meteorologists predicted a minimal effect on the area.
“This storm impacted many localities, generated extensive debris and significantly damaged public and private property, essential infrastructure and agriculture,” McAuliffe wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama.
McAuliffe visited Virginia Beach on Oct. 13, which marked the beginning of a damage assessment in the area. The assessment revealed that more than 2,000 homes were damaged in Virginia and about 70 percent of those were in Virginia Beach and Norfolk.
More than a dozen Virginia Beach and Norfolk homes were wrecked, while another 138 were severely damaged. An additional 1,254 properties suffered minor damages or were affected, the letter states.
Only eight percent of Virginia Beach residents had flood insurance at the time.
Of the 630 Virginians displaced by flooding, 107 are Virginia Beach residents who are currently living in hotels, the letter states.
Virginia Beach first responders are helping with the clean up and fire stations are serving as drop-off locations for food donations. A citizen assistance center was set up at Bow Creek Recreation Center, and 240 open work orders are being handled by volunteer groups like the Salvation Army and Team Rubicon.
Across the state, there were $13.2 million in damages to public facilities, including two Norfolk pumps that failed early in the storm causing underpasses on Virginia Beach Boulevard and Brambleton Avenue to fill with about 18 feet of water. Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander estimates the pumps will cost $1 million each to fix.
In the letter, McAuliffe petitions Obama to declare the impacts of the hurricane as a “major disaster” in Virginia and seeks money from Individual Assistance Programs (IAP) and Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loans for several Hampton Roads localities. The IAP programs would include transitional sheltering assistance, disaster case management and crisis counseling.
Mayfield can be reached at 352-431-9612.