West Virginia governor asks for disaster help

Jay Bennett, left, and step-son Easton Phillips survey the damage to a neighbors car in front of their home damaged by floodwaters as the cleanup begins from severe flooding in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., Friday, June 24, 2016. A deluge of 9 inches of rain on parts of West Virginia destroyed or damaged more than 100 homes and knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is asking federal authorities for a major disaster declaration to get help for the three counties in his state hardest hit by flooding.

A statement from his office says Tomblin made an expedited verbal request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Saturday for individual assistance for Kanawha, Greenbrier and Nicholas counties. Individual assistance includes housing and crisis counseling.

“A federal Major Disaster Declaration would provide our residents with the support they need to rebuild and move forward,” Tomblin’s statement said.

Tomblin said other counties affected by the rain-provoked flooding will also receive help. West Virginians should contact their local emergency management offices.

About 32,000 West Virginia homes and businesses remain without power Saturday after severe flooding hit the state.

The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management also said Saturday that more than 60 secondary roads in the state were closed. U.S. routes 60 and 119 were closed in multiple locations.

The flooding was sparked by heavy rain late in the week. Authorities said 23 people were killed and scores of homes were damaged after strong thunderstorms rolled into the state on Thursday.

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