Seven NC counties eligible for federal disaster aid

Posted August 31, 2011

— President Barack Obama on Wednesday declared a federal disaster in seven North Carolina counties hit by Hurricane Irene, paving the way for residents to receive federal aid.

Striking last Saturday, Irene destroyed more than 1,100 homes, punched through N.C. Highway 12 on the Outer Banks in three places, flooded croplands and caused $71 million in damage. That total is expected to rise as crop losses and clean-up costs are tallied.

"Our fellow North Carolinians who suffered losses during this storm need to start rebuilding their lives now – not tomorrow," Gov. Bev Perdue said in a statement.

The declaration covers Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico and Tyrrell counties.

Residents and business owners in those counties can apply for low-interest loans or grants to cover uninsured losses, such as home repairs, medical costs and business losses. The federal aid goes only toward primary residences, not to second residences such as vacation homes.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will start registering people for aid on Thursday. To apply, register online or call 1-800-621-3362 or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585.

FEMA personnel are continuing damage assessments this week, and additional counties might be declared disaster areas, the White House said. Perdue said she's also asked the U.S. Agriculture Department to speed up assistance for farmers whose crops were damaged.

"Additional counties may be able to come in quickly as we identify additional damages," FEMA Deputy Administrator Tim Manning said.

FEMA will be able to meet the needs for recovery efforts although its emergency fund has dwindled to $800 million, Manning told WRAL News.

He said the agency's has shifted its focus to give priority to immediate needs, such as debris removal, food, water and emergency shelter, over long-term rebuilding efforts in areas struck by previous natural disasters.

"It focuses our resources on disaster survivors and the immediate programs that need to be in place for life-saving, life-sustaining missions that get communities back on their feet," Manning said.

FEMA pledges to help NC hurricane victims FEMA pledges to help NC hurricane victims

The Obama administration requested $1.8 billion for FEMA's disaster relief fund for the upcoming budget year. The agency estimated this spring that would leave the fund short by $2 billion to $4.8 billion.

A homeland security funding bill that would likely replenish the disaster relief fund passed the U.S. House in June, but the U.S. Senate hasn't acted on it. The bill could get caught up in a battle to offset its costs with cuts elsewhere, but a provision in the recently passed debt limit and budget deal permits Congress to pass several billion dollars in additional FEMA disaster aid without budget cuts elsewhere.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack viewed the hurricane damage in North Carolina on an aerial tour Tuesday.

Before the hurricane struck, Obama declared an emergency in 34 North Carolina counties, which lets the federal government help pay for emergency response such as shelters, food and search-and-rescue missions.

People who want to help in the North Carolina recovery can send their donations to the N.C. Disaster Relief Fund.

The fund, which is operated through the state Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service, will distribute money to various volunteer organizations that work on long-term recovery efforts, such as the repair and rebuilding of homes. Donations are tax-deductible, and funds are for recovery efforts only, not for administrative costs.


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  • fayncmike Sep 1, 2011

    If the basic function of government in general isn’t to see to the welfare of those governed than what the heck is it?

    I dislike posting URLs but here is one worth reading and a little excerpt from it.

    “From the earliest colonial times villages and towns recognized an obligation to aid the needy when family effort and assistance provided by neighbors and friends were not sufficient.”

  • redwolfone Aug 31, 2011

    I said it once and I will say it again, We should not have and should stop building on that ever moving sand bar called OBX. Get the politics out of this for a moment and think where this money is coming from.....Hmmmmmm? Us,...... to rebuild and insure people who live in a flood prone and ever moving area. What did they do to all those communities that were next to the Mississippi river (1990s)? They made them move. Same should apply here.

  • nighttrain2010 Aug 31, 2011

    >>Boy i hope comments like this one dont ever come back to haunt THE GOOD OLE USA .

    Why not? Actions of this nation for the past 60 years sure have. Note one. 'They' don't 'hate us for our freedom'.

  • vraptor Aug 31, 2011

    NC is a swing state. This is just an attempt to buy votes in NC from Captain Cry Baby. I am going to schedule a state of the union address next week in front of congress on the same day as the scheduled R debate in CA.

  • Screw WrAl Aug 31, 2011

    But don't forget, all NEW requests have been and will be denied according to the national media outlets as of this morning. As well, all rebuilding efforts are now on hold, including Katrina and other flood areas, earthquake areas and other places of devastation.

  • Mustange Aug 31, 2011

    That means what to me? I don't buy the 'fighting for our freedom' nonsense from EITHER party. What your son does and doesn't do has nothing to do with my freedom. Glad you're proud of him but it in no way affects my life.

    Boy i hope comments like this one dont ever come back to haunt THE GOOD OLE USA .

  • bluebird1075 Aug 31, 2011

    RWS/ I don't remember posting anything directly to you! I'm not naive enough to think that just "my" tax dollars are paying for any war we may be involved in but, I pay my fair share, my son, my daddy and my grandaddy served this country and all of them are/were tax paying citizens. Who I help is up to me to decide be it family, friends or someone I don't even know. I try to "pitch in" wherever or whenever something is needed. Since you asked me, I'll ask you the same question. What have you done so far?

  • nighttrain2010 Aug 31, 2011

    "No worries, we'll just print up some more!" Bernanke, Obama and everyone else on the left. - smbiz

    Hate to rain on your parade but both sides of the aisle have been printing money for far longer than Obama has been in office. This is a government issue, not a party issue. Cantor and the rest of the lip service conservatives have only to get back in a position of power before they'll find all sorts of monopoly money for their programs.

  • nighttrain2010 Aug 31, 2011

    >>I am a Republican and my son did fight in the Iraq war --bluebird1075

    That means what to me? I don't buy the 'fighting for our freedom' nonsense from EITHER party. What your son does and doesn't do has nothing to do with my freedom. Glad you're proud of him but it in no way affects my life.

    >>and I pay taxes every week so I think I'm paying for the war/wars already!

    If I were you, i'd be mad as heck you're paying for Wilsonian adventurism. I know I am.

    >> I don't need a handout but, would be willing to help anyone that needed it. That's what a good human being would do regardless of their political party.

    Which is all I'm stating. Instead of depending on the government to do your 'good deed' for you at twice the rate with half the actual help, volunteer yourself to do something. Whether that's with money to a non government connected non profit, giving a couch, or giving someone shelter.

  • ICTrue Aug 31, 2011

    "sorry, no Money left."

    - Eric Cantor and the GOP"

    "No worries, we'll just print up some more!"

    Bernanke, Obama and everyone else on the left.