Local News

County Lines Determine How Flood Relief Money is Distributed

Posted October 12, 1999

— Six million dollars may sound like a lot of money, but now that the Governor's Flood Relief Fund has been doled out to 30 flood-ravaged counties, the cash gets spread pretty thin. Recipients are learning that where they live will determine how much they get.

On the Nash County side of Rocky Mount, Bennie Harrell trudges through the shell of the Rocky Mount home where his family has lived for 24 years. Flood water climbed nearly six feet up the walls, buckling hardwoods and saturating furniture.

On the Edgecombe County side of Rocky Mount, Kameko Hobbs, a mother of four, faces a similar flooded fate.

But, the process in which both will get governor's flood relief is very different.

Edgecombe County flood victims can qualify for up to $700, which could cover a mortgage payment. The downside is it the money will be doled out on a first-come, first-serve basis.

"Rather than giving $500 or $700 to one family, we may have 2,000 or 2,500 households that would receive nothing. Their need may have been just as great as the first people who got in," says Carl Daughtry, Nash County Social Services director.

That said, Nash County leaders have decided to give all flooded families a flat payment of $75 -- enough for some groceries or medication.

Whatever the distribution process, $75 or $700 cannot even begin to replace what Harrell or Hobbs lost. But, it is a start.

"They don't have to give us nothing. So, all I can say is whatever anybody gives, they ought to be grateful for," says Hobbs.

"I think you're grateful for whatever help you might receive no matter how small or how large it may be. We've been awful lucky, and we've had a lot of help. A lot of people here have not had a lot of help," says Harrell.

Many counties will begin writing checks to flood victims on Thursday. Check with your county social services department for more information. Reporter: Cullen Browder


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