Florence disaster aid passes $869 million mark

Published 4:00 pm Friday, November 23, 2018

Two months after Hurricane Florence devastated North Carolina, especially the state’s southeast quadrant, a little more than $869 million in state and federal funds have been provided to storm victims to help aid their recovery efforts.

The funds include grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, payouts from the National Flood Insurance Program and low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“We’re working hard to get North Carolinians the help they need to recover from this devastating storm, and I appreciate our federal and local partners, volunteers, and all of the organizations that are working with us to rebuild North Carolina smarter and stronger,” said Gov. Roy Cooper in a statement.

Among the assistance provided by the federal government:

  • $114.3 million in state and federal grants approved for homeowners and renters.
  • $465.2 million in estimated claims paid to NFIP policyholders.
  • $290 million in SBA low-interest disaster loans approved for 7,260 homeowners, renters and business owners.

“FEMA is part of a team of federal, state and local government agencies who assist in recovery, but ordinary people are also important team members,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Albie Lewis, who oversees FEMA’s operations in the state. “North Carolinians have pitched in to help their neighbors, and both local voluntary agencies and those from other states have played a critical role in getting us to this point.”

Attempts to contact federal and state officials in an effort to obtain specific information about the types assistance and dollar amounts approved for Beaufort County residents were not successful.

The deadline to register with FEMA, as well as apply for direct disaster loans from the SBA as a result of Hurricane Florence has been extended to Dec. 13.

Other updates and signs of recovery include:

  • 32,088 North Carolinians have been approved for housing assistance grants. Of those, 18,804 homeowners and renters received temporary rental assistance.
  • 88 eligible households have been licensed in to occupy travel trailers and manufactured housing units. Direct Temporary Housing Assistance is available in 13 counties: Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, New Hanover and Robeson.
  • $19.5 million in grants have been approved to help homeowners and renters replace personal property, for medical and dental expenses, moving and storage fees and other serious disaster-related expenses not covered by insurance or other sources.
  • Teams of disaster survivor assistance crews have visited 100,374 homes in storm-damaged communities, registered 4,782 survivors and made 4,774 case updates and inquiries.
  • FEMA inspectors have completed 99 percent of 97,449 assigned home inspections as part of the process of determining whether applicants are eligible for assistance. If an applicant’s home was inaccessible at the time of FEMA registration—but is now accessible—the applicant should call FEMA or visit any recovery center for a status update.

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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