Rescuers desperately search damaged homes for survivors in West Virginia as Obama declares severe flooding which has killed at least 26 a ‘major disaster’

Sunday, June 26, 2016
By Paul Martin

Obama declared flooding in West Virginia a major disaster and directed White House staff to ensure FEMA is providing all appropriate help
At least 26 people have died, including two kids, since up to 10 inches of rain started falling in the state Thursday
Kanawha, Greenbrier and Nicholas counties are three areas most devastated by the flooding
More than 32,000 homes and businesses are still without power as authorities search and rescue survivors
The death toll in West Virginia is the highest in any state from flooding this year as it’s the worst flooding in more than a century there

By Regina F. Graham and Anneta Konstantinides
26 June 2016

President Barack Obama has declared the devastating floods in West Virginia that have killed at least 26 people ‘a major disaster’.

In a statement, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Obama spoke by phone to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Saturday while returning to Washington, D.C., from Seattle.

Schultz said Obama is committed to ensuring that Tomblin has the federal resources he needs for all recovery efforts.
The president has directed White House staff to coordinate closely with Tomblin’s team to make sure the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as FEMA, is providing all appropriate assistance.

Tomblin asked for a federal major disaster declaration on Saturday for three counties – Kanawha, Greenbrier and Nicholas – which were devastated by the state’s worst flooding in more than a century.

The three counties were severely damaged by the flooding that began with heavy rains on Thursday.

Tomblin said the state would follow up with requests for other counties that also sustained significant damage.

The scope of damage in those three counties allowed him to make the request immediately, he said in a statement.

A FEMA team is expected to arrive on Saturday to assess the damage in West Virginia where more than 32,000 homes and businesses still were without power.

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