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City Approved for FEMA Aid After Derecho

Process could take up to a year to get money to offset $300,000 price tag on services during storm aftermath.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved the City of Falls Church and 68 other jurisdictions in Virginia to receive federal disaster assistance after June’s .

The city spent about $300,000 in clean up and manpower after the powerful storm blew through Northern Virginia leaving thousands without power. Tom Polera, fire marshal and emergency manager for the city, said any funds received from FEMA would go into the general fund.

“The city made application for FEMA public assistance through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to recoup a percentage of these costs,” Polera said. “The process could take anywhere from 12 to 18 months.”

Days after the Derecho blew through the area on June 29, and homes went without power for days as local and out of state work crews repaired downed power lines. According to FEMA, under public assistance, some costs that are eligible for reimbursement include activation of emergency crews to respond to the storm, opening of cooling centers and shelters, debris removal, repairs to publicly-owned property such as roads, water and sewer systems and damage to electrical systems. The state was not eligible for FEMA’s individual assistance program.

That program provides aid to individuals and families with uninsured losses, because most private property that was damaged was insured, according to FEMA.

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