County resident first to receive FEMA check

Published 10:16 pm Friday, October 14, 2016

Although federal, state and local officials continue to deal with floodwaters in eastern North Carolina and assess damage caused by Hurricane Matthew and flooding, some data is beginning to come in to those officials. Other agencies such as the National Weather Service continue to collect storm data.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency sent 200 inspectors to North Carolina to respond to people who registered with the agency for disaster assistance, according to FEMA.

John Pack, Beaufort County’s emergency-management director, said 462 county residents had registered for FEMA assistance as of 1 p.m. Friday.

“I can tell a person who lives in Beaufort County was the first one to receive a check for this disaster. I cannot tell you who. They called me from Raleigh to say, ‘The first check went out, and it went out to a Beaufort County resident, John.’”

Nathan Custer, a FEMA spokesman, said information about the number of people in eastern North Carolina who are registering for assistance is not yet available.

There are 23 counties in North Carolina (as of Friday afternoon) where homeowners, renters and business owners may apply for federal disaster assistance for Hurricane Matthew damages and losses.

As of Friday afternoon, there were 24 deaths related to Hurricane Matthew and subsequent flooding, but none in Beaufort County. Most of the deaths were caused by drowning when people in vehicles drove into deep water and could not escape.

At one point during the flooding, about 1,500 people were stranded, according to state officials.

The highest wind recorded in Washington during the storm was 45 mph, according to NWS information. The highest wind in Belhaven was 43 mph.

Rainfall caused the Pamlico River at Washington rise to 5.02 feet above normal level this past weekend. Minor flood stage at Washington is 4.5 feet. At 3 p.m. Friday, the river was at 3.56 feet, but expected to rise as floodwaters from Hurricane Matthew travel downstream from Greenville to Washington.

Twenty-three counties are eligible for the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program.

Twenty-three counties are eligible for Small Business Administration assistance.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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