Virginia to receive earthquake aid after all
The federal government has granted the state's appeal for assistance to Louisa County. President Obama signed a disaster declaration clearing the way for aid.
"Many of our fellow Virginians who call Louisa home are hurting, and this is critically needed aid during a very trying time," Republican Gov. Robert F. McDonnell said in a statement. "The once-in-one-hundred-year earthquake that struck Virginia in August caused significant damage that was not covered by homeowners insurance. Many homes and businesses have been extensively damaged."
The Federal Emergency Management Agency's earlier denial of the state's request set off political aftershocks, with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) pondering: "If damage from a once-in-a-generation, 5.8-magnitude earthquake does not qualify for federal disaster relief, then I don’t know what does."
FEMA earlier said it had determined that the damage to dwellings "was not of such severity and magnitude as to be beyond the capabilities of the commonwealth, affected local governments and voluntary agencies," a finding that the state's elected representatives from both parties disputed.
Louisa County was in the national spotlight the day of the quake, but Virginia officials feared it might be forgotten as damge to the Washington Monument and Washington National Cathedral drew the spotlight.
The governor said that the damage from the Aug. 23 quake was more extensive than what was originally reported in more than 1,400 homes. Some damage that was first categorized as minor has become worse as a result of more than 40 aftershocks, his statement said.
--Richard Simon in Washington
Photo: A sign in Mineral, Va., after the Aug. 23 earthquake. Credit: Getty Images