September 13, 2018

As Hurricane Florence Approaches, Warner & Kaine Offer to Help VA Ensure the Safety of Virginia Veterans

~ Hampton VA Medical Center is performing a full inpatient evacuation and nearby veteran outpatient clinics have closed in anticipation of the powerful storm ~ 

WASHINGTON— As Hurricane Florence continues its approach, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-Va.) today offered to assist the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in providing all necessary resources to ensure Virginia veterans will be cared for during and in the aftermath of this potentially devastating storm. The Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) is currently in the process of performing a full inpatient evacuation of the main hospital and will be closing all Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, and Albemarle until September 17th. Most, if not all, of these patients are being moved to medical centers in North Carolina, West Virginia, and elsewhere in Virginia in order to continue receiving assistance. 

 “Virginia is home to over 700,000 veterans, many of whom live in Hampton Roads – an area that is especially susceptible to significant flooding and life-threatening storm surges. We urge you to use all tools at your disposal to continue to provide benefits and services to veterans when possible during and after the storm, as well as to seek additional assistance as required,” wrote the Senators in a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. 

The letter comes after the Senators, along with the entire Virginia congressional delegation, successfully advocated for President Trump to issue a federal emergency declaration for the Commonwealth of Virginia, which allows federal agencies to begin offering preemptive assistance to affected states. Gov. Northam has declared a state of emergency in Virginia in preparation for the hurricane and has ordered the evacuation of more than 200,000 residents. Sens. Warner and Kaine have been requesting coordination and assistance from federal agencies in preparation for the hurricane, including the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and FEMA. The Senators will continue monitoring additional storm developments that may require increased federal assistance.

“Following the storm, we look forward to working with you to ensure that VA programs and facilities in Hampton Roads and throughout the Commonwealth are operational as quickly as possible in order to ensure the safety of our veterans who require regular assistance. Please keep us updated on the status of the evacuation and the implementation of the VA’s storm management plan,”concluded the Senators.

The full text of the letter can be found here and below: 

The Honorable Robert Wilkie

Secretary of Veterans Affairs

810 Vermont Ave, NW

Washington, DC 20420

Dear Secretary Wilkie:

As the Commonwealth of Virginia prepares for the landfall of Hurricane Florence, we urge the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide all necessary resources to ensure our veterans will be cared for during and in the aftermath of this potentially devastating storm, and to seek further support as needed. We stand ready to help. 

Virginia is home to over 700,000 veterans, many of whom live in Hampton Roads – an area that is especially susceptible to significant flooding and life-threatening storm surges. We urge you to use all tools at your disposal to continue to provide benefits and services to veterans when possible during and after the storm, as well as to seek additional assistance as required.

In preparation for Hurricane Florence, we understand that the Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) is performing a full inpatient evacuation of the main hospital and will be closing all Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, and Albemarle until September 17th. It is our understanding that most, if not all, of these patients are being moved to medical centers in North Carolina, West Virginia, and elsewhere in Virginia in order to continue receiving assistance.  

Following the storm, we look forward to working with you to ensure that VA programs and facilities in Hampton Roads and throughout the Commonwealth are operational as quickly as possible in order to ensure the safety of our veterans who require regular assistance. Please keep us updated on the status of the evacuation and the implementation of the VA’s storm management plan.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to working with you to provide veterans affected by Hurricane Florence the support needed to recover from this disaster. Please let us know how we can be helpful to ensure a continuation of services to our veterans during this difficult situation.

Sincerely,