PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WVEC) -- The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) opened its Region Five office in Portsmouth on Wednesday. The VDEM works with local government, state and federal agencies and volunteer agencies to provide resources in disasters and emergencies.

The Commonwealth manages seven geographic regions for emergency and disaster management through VDEM. Each regional office will have, at minimum, one chief regional coordinator, a disaster response and recovery officer, a hazardous materials officer and an All-Hazard Planner.

VDEM’s Region Five covers the following communities: Southampton, Franklin, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Isle of Wight, Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, Surry, Poquoson, York, Williamsburg, James City, Gloucester, Mathews, Northampton, Middlesex, Lancaster, Accomack, Chincoteague, Northumberland, Richmond and Westmoreland.

The office is located at the Old Dominion University Tri-Cities Center campus in Portsmouth. Dr. Jeff Stern the State Coordinator said the new office will improve and enhance VDEM’s on-the-ground presence, and their ability to work with state agencies and local governments responding to emergencies and disasters.

“A great is example is during Hurricane Matthew which just came through affected 2,300 homes and thousands of citizens across the region. By having everyone work together we can be much more effective in how we work as an agency to support the local governments provide resources and access to federal aid,” said Stern.