Kanawha County, W. Va. (July 2019) – A family in Clendenin lost both their home and their bridge in 2016. Although eligible in Rise WV for replacement of their double wide mobile home, work could not begin without safe access. The WV VOAD Bridge Team supervised volunteers who completed the bridge replacement in under three weeks. In anticipation of the upcoming housing project, the twenty-foot bridge was re-engineered with an angled approach to accommodate delivery of the new mobile home. Their housing recovery can begin now that the bridge is in place.
WV VOAD’s nationally recognized Bridge Program has replaced 71 private bridges statewide since 2015. All but the 6 funded through Rise WV, constructed with CDBG-DR funds, were completed with donated funding and volunteer labor. The WV VOAD Bridge Team expects to complete up to 100 bridges through the Rise WV program using volunteers from around the country.
WV VOAD presented three awards at its Annual Meeting in June in recognition of the value of its volunteers, member organizations and partners.
Volunteer of the Year
The inaugural Joanne P. Fleming Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to outgoing board member Rodney Burkholder of Mennonite Disaster Service to celebrate his tireless and continual work toward West Virginia’s recovery from 2016 flooding. His oversight of numerous home repairs and reconstruction as well as his willingness to spearhead the MDS investment in West Virginia, has made a tremendous impact in the State’s recovery. The award is named for the late board member and champion of the WV VOAD mission, Joanne Fleming who passed away in 2017.
Organization of the Year
After the 2016 disaster, one organization was among the first to offer relief to communities. Since then, they have been active in supply distribution, spiritual and emotional care, case management and home repair and reconstruction. Additional funding just received ensures they will be involved in long term recovery another two years. The 2019 Organization of the Year was presented to the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church in recognition of their extraordinary contribution to West Virginia’s disaster recovery.
Partner of the Year
WV VOAD plays a critical role in state disaster response and must have visionaries on board who recognize its value and are willing to help undergird and expand its capacity to meet the demands. Since 2015 the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, through the eyes of Program Director Kim Tieman has filled that role and empowered WV VOAD to grow along with its responsibilities. The 2019 Partner of the Year was presented to Kim and the esteemed Benedum Foundation.
Executive Director Jenny Gannaway remarks, “I’ve said many times that an organization is only as good as those associated with it. Clearly, WV VOAD interacts with great people and organizations. It was an honor to recognize their contributions to disaster recovery with these awards.”
Anticipated Rainfall through 8:00 am EST September 19th, 2018
Governor Justice: Hurricane Florence State Preparedness Briefing
Anticipated Rainfall as predicted by the National Hurricane Center on 9/13/2018
Governor Justice provides update on State of Preparedness for Hurricane Florence
In a press release from the Governor’s office on September 12, 2018, Governor Justice gave an update on the State of Preparedness and the multiple state agencies that are prepared to respond, including the National Guard, the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the State Police, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the WV Intelligence/Fusion Center, the Department of Health and Human Resources, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation and Division of Natural Resources. A full breakdown of this update can be found here.
Fox News – FEMA holds update briefing on Hurricane Florence
ABC News – FEMA chief talks Hurricane Florence preparations
On a press release on September 11th, 2018, Governor Justice orders all construction on Northbound I-77 to be suspended from the state line to Charleston during the State of Preparedness.
“We need to allow our traffic to flow freely as folks travel to safer areas and to ensure that relief supplies reach their needed locations as quickly as possible,” Gov. Justice said.
The Parkways Authorities will advise travelers of alternative pathways.
CBS -FEMA Administrator Brock Long “Hurricane Florence will be “devastating,” FEMA chief says
FEMA Press Conference
An important part of being prepared for a disaster is staying aware of weather that is happening around you. There are many ways to stay up to date on severe weather conditions, including signing up for alerts from your local news station, listening to alerts from the National Weather Service on the radio and television, or downloading apps on your smartphone from FEMA or the American Red Cross.
West Virginia Prepares for Hurricane Florence
On the morning of September 11th, 2018, Governor Justice has issued a State of Preparedness for the entire state of West Virginia in advance of Hurricane Florence.
This “allows for the mobilization of resources to assist with preparation for any potential flooding or other storm related damage. Additionally, the Governor has instructed all state agencies to exercise their appropriate authorities associated with this State of Preparedness.”
Governor Justice “stands ready to declare a state of emergency for all areas that the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management deem necessary.”
The issuing of a State of Preparedness follows Governor Justice’s statement on Hurricane Florence preparations on September 10th, 2018 which directs the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (WVHSEM) and the West Virginia National Guard to prepare for potential emergency situations, in the form of monitoring weather reports and river gauges for potential impacts, and working with other state and federal agencies for planning, preparedness and response purposes.
“All West Virginians need to prepare immediately for the potential impact Hurricane Florence may bring to the Mountain State,” said Governor Jim Justice. “West Virginians should continue to monitor local weather forecasts, reports and information distributed by local emergency officials, news, and radio stations. And please, do not endanger yourselves, your loved ones or our first responders by trying to drive through flood waters!” Click Here for Proclamation
Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall in the Carolinas late this week as a major hurricane. Many regions of West Virginia, including the Eastern Panhandle, Potomac Highlands, Mountain Lakes, and New River/Greenbrier Valley regions, may see significant rainfall.
As of 5:00am EST today, a hurricane watch has been issued from Edisto Beach, South Carolina to the North Carolina-Virginia border. Mandatory evacuations have been issued by the governors of North and South Carolina and Virginia for coastal areas.
Currently, Hurricane Florence is a classified as a Category 4, with winds at 130 mph, and is moving at 15 mph. It is expected to make landfall late this week.
West Virginia may experience heavy rain and thunderstorms, which may potentially cause flooding.
“Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.” is the slogan for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 2018 national preparedness month, with the focus being on creating a plan for yourself, your family, and your community. Each week has a different task to be completed, leading up to being prepared for all types of emergencies when they happen and in the aftermath and learning life saving skills to ensure that you and your family are safe when disaster strikes.
Week 1 September 1-8: Make and Practice your Plan
Week 2 September 9-15: Learn Life Saving Skills
Week 3 September 16-22: Check Your Insurance Coverage
Week 4 September 23-29: Save for an Emergency
For more information on how you can accomplish the tasks of each week, please go to the Preparedness Section of WV VOAD’s website or to Ready.gov.