WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Woodbridge Flood Victims Petition FEMA

Play associated audio
Holly Acres Mobile Home Park in Woodbridge, Va. was devastated by the flooding from Tropical Storm Lee back in September.
Jonathan Wilson
Holly Acres Mobile Home Park in Woodbridge, Va. was devastated by the flooding from Tropical Storm Lee back in September.

Hundreds of residents from Woodbridge, Virginia protested outside of Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in D.C. Friday afternoon. They lost their homes during flooding after Tropical Storm Lee, and say the process for getting government assistance is stacked against them.

With children leading the chants, the crowd of more than one hundred people, many former residents of the Holly Acres Mobile Home Park in Woodbridge, gathered outside of FEMA headquarters to protest a recent decision to reject requests for individual assistance from the agency.

Nancy Lyall with the Woodbridge Workers Committee helped organize the protest. She says the current system of basing FEMA assistance decisions partly on monetary assessments of damage are unfair. She says if the same flooding had ravaged a subdivision with $400,000 homes, FEMA already could have stepped in.

"We feel that FEMA should not just look at the financial aspects, but also look at the need that is present," says Lyall. "And when you look at a community that's resources are limited to begin with -- these are the people that truly need the help."

Lyall says more than half of the 100 or so families displaced by the storm still lack permanent housing.

Alondra Gonzalez, 14, says this process has made her wonder if the government just doesn't want to help a neighborhood that was predominately Hispanic. She's currently staying in a house sheltering four different Holly Acres families: "In total there's 22 people in the house -- it has five rooms and two restrooms, so we're kind of complicated all stuck in there," she says.

In a statement released after the protest, FEMA says the support shown from Virginia and affected counties, as well as faith-based groups, shows that the recovery efforts remain within the capabilities of the Commonwealth and local governments. FEMA also says it remains committed to working with Virginia as the recovery continues.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, April 21

You can see a visual art exhibit that’s all about birds or check out two Shakespeare plays at a local theater.

NPR

Soup to Nuts, Restaurants Smoke It All

While you won't find cigarettes in restaurants anymore, some smoking isn't banned. It's not just meat, either; it's hot to smoke just about anything edible.
NPR

Obama Trip To Focus On Relations With Asia

President Obama is about to leave on a week's visit to 4 Asian countries. It's the latest effort to refocus U.S. foreign policy on Asia. Like earlier efforts, it's struggling to ward off distractions.
WAMU 88.5

Taking Transit Information Off Mobile Devices And Onto Public Displays

A transportation signage company is trying to change the way D.C. commuters make their transit decisions.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.