BELPRE - Parts of southeastern Ohio have qualified for federal aid in dealing with the damage caused by the June 29 derecho.
West Virginia is appealing a federal decision that denied such aid for the state.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently announced federal disaster assistance has been made available to Ohio to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms and straight-line winds from June 29 to July 2.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
The picnic shelter at Howes Grove Park in Belpre remains on the ground Wednesday nearly two months after the June 29 storm, which caused serious damage throughout Washington and Wood counties.
The funding, which is available to state and local governments as well as some nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis, will be used for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms.
Ohio counties eligible for this funding are Adams, Allen, Athens, Auglaize, Belmont, Champaign, Clark, Coshocton, Fairfield, Franklin, Gallia, Guernsey, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Highland, Hocking, Jackson, Knox, Lawrence, Licking, Logan, Meigs, Miami, Monroe, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Paulding, Perry, Pickaway, Pike, Putnam, Shelby, Van Wert and Washington.
W. Michael Moore has been named as the federal coordinating officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area in Ohio. Moore said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
In Belpre, Mayor Mike Lorentz said the city presented its needs to FEMA two weeks ago and as of 3:30 p.m. Wednesday had not heard back from officials.
''We are pretty much whole again,'' he said. ''We still have some cleanup to do."
Fallen trees and branches have remained an issue in Belpre.
Lorentz said plans are in place to bring in a large mulching machine to take care of a lot of the debris still in the area.
''We are going to mulch everything,'' he said.
That machine is not expected to be in the area until late September or early October.
Local cleanup efforts in Belpre cost around $54,000-$55,000 in overtime, equipment and fuel.
A shelter at Howes Grove Park was knocked down and a carport at the Belpre Senior Citizens Center was damaged. Lorentz said it will cost around $30,000 to replace both. Claims have been filed with the insurance company and the city was awaiting action.
''It has been a long process,'' Lorentz said of dealing with all the factors following the storm.
Damage estimates in Ohio were around $29 million.
Eleven utilities filed the reports with the Public Service Commission this week showing the derecho cost power providers in the state around $172 million.
Appalachian Power and First Energy subsidiaries Mon Power and Potomac Edison replaced or repaired a combined 2,700 power poles, more than 300 miles of wire and 1,600 transformers after the windstorm. Frontier Communications says it had 20 generators stolen following the storm.
The windstorm and subsequent storms left three people dead and more than 680,000 customers without electricity across the state.
However, the federal government has denied Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's request for individual assistance to help homeowners hit by the windstorm
Tomblin has called for a meeting with FEMA officials. Joining in that call were the members of West Virginia's congressional delegation.
Messages left at the governor's office seeking an update on the appeal were not immediately answered Wednesday evening.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)