Story by Mike Nolting, MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been meeting with flood victims in Boone, Calhoun, Clay, Harrison and Kanawha counties for the last 30 days.

Leyla Gulen

A major disaster declaration was declared by President Biden following storms that happened last year in late-August.

FEMA Media Relations specialist Leyla Gulen said as of March 1 more than $1 million has been distributed in the five-county area for temporary housing and another $72,000 for cleaning supplies, childcare, storage, medical and dental expenses.

“In the first month since the President approved the disaster in West Virginia, we are extremely proud and happy to report that we’ve put more than $1 million into the hands of survivors,” Gulem said.

FEMA teams have also completed 104 hazard mitigation engagements, 300 home inspections, and knocked on about 2,800 doors in the five-county area.

The disaster recovery centers in each county are open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents can also get help by calling 800-621-3362 (FEMA), and claims can also be submitted online.

“We have set up disaster recovery centers in three different locations and mobile disaster recovery centers in three additional locations, and we’re trying to meet people where they are,” Gulen said.

FEMA has provided multiple methods to submit a claim, but the deadline is about 30 days away. Residents can appeal FEMA decisions within 60 days of the date on the determination letter.

“We’ve got a deadline coming up on April 1, so with one month past, we know how fast that goes, and we don’t want to leave anyone behind,” Gulen said.

Residents who submit a claim online or in person should provide as much documentation as possible, including pictures if available. Gulen said it is especially important for FEMA teams to see proof of any rejection a property owner has received from an insurance company.

“Receipts, any repairs you have made that you have receipts for, bring those with you because that is going to help determine what kind of assistance we can provide,” Gulen said.

Gulen said some people that have already filed claims will hear from a FEMA representative or they are welcome to call the toll free number.

“If you’ve already submitted your application you are not going to be left behind,” Gulen said. “You’ve already started the process and we’re going to be here with you until that process is completed whether that is in-person or over the phone.”