Crop losses push NC damage from Irene above $400M

Posted September 2, 2011

— The damage estimate in North Carolina from Hurricane Irene continued to mount Friday, with Gov. Beverly Perdue putting the latest tally at more than $400 million.

Meanwhile, the federal government extended its disaster declaration in North Carolina after Hurricane Irene to include Currituck, Onslow, Pitt and Washington counties. The move allows residents of those counties to seek low-interest loans or grants to help them recover from the storm.

The bulk of North Carolina's storm damage is $320 million in crop losses, Perdue said. Uninsured personal and business losses accounted for another $40 million, while government cleanup costs are more than $45 million, she said.

"We knew the financial toll would be large, but our determination to help victims of the storm recover is even bigger," the governor said in a statement.

In a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack, Perdue requested an expedited major disaster declaration for 43 counties in eastern North Carolina. Without immediate help, she said, many producers will go out of business, and the economic ripple effect will result in thousands of additional lost jobs.

"Extreme drought had already withered crops and delayed harvests, resulting in even greater hurricane damage that might otherwise have occurred," she said, noting crops from cotton to sweet potatoes to tobacco were damaged.

The addition of four counties to the federal disaster declaration mean that residents in 13 North Carolina counties can now seek recovery aid. Nine other counties – Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Dare, Halifax, Hyde, Lenoir, Pamlico and Tyrrell – were already covered by the declaration.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help recover from the effects of the disaster. Applicants can contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency by going online or calling toll-free 800-621-3362.

Representatives from FEMA and the state Division of Emergency Management were going door-to-door in hard-hit counties to make sure that renters, homeowners and small business owners know about available disaster assistance programs and to identify unmet needs. Team members will also meet with representatives of community and faith-based agencies, community leaders and public officials.

Meanwhile, the government has approved 20 counties to its disaster declaration for public assistance, which helps local governments with the costs of responding to the storm, as well as cleaning debris and repairing infrastructure.

The counties eligible for public aid for storm recovery are Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Halifax, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Tyrrell and Wilson.


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  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Sep 2, 2011

    Am sorry for them.

    They work hard for what they net.

    Still, most are use to Mother Nature slapping them down every now and then.

    Praying they do ok.

    We need our farmers, else everything we'd be eating would be from SA or China, and we don't want China.

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 2, 2011

    I'm a more than a little confuse, didn't they have it on here yesterday that damage was 7 million?

  • lobgill7 Sep 2, 2011

    Most farmers vote democrat. This year will be considered a good year for them. Money for nothing, and the checks are free.

  • geosol Sep 2, 2011

    This is just *terrible*, according to the angry old rich man on the radio who tells me what to think. EVERYTHING that the U.S. government does is BAD, BAD, BAD!!!! So all you people that need help with roads, power, and infrastructure should be all on your own.

  • RandolphBloke Sep 2, 2011

    Sassie, don't even make it partisan. Both parties have gotten these very same issues wrong for the last 50 years. Stop making trouble where there is none and work for a solution. All the complaining and partisanship in the world does nothing except to lower the quality of dialogue which is already at near record lows.

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 2, 2011

    One more comment, even if I'm crazy... But did ya notice the leaf he was holding, that is the dream leaf, that all farmer look to grow, has the most weight, and will bring in a good price. That old guy knew what he was doing....

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 2, 2011

    If not, millions, MILLIONS have better things to do with their money than give it to you!
    September 2, 2011 4:19 p.m.

    Good point, but... did you know that they put people in flood zone, that have not had a flood in over 100 years to help pay for those in a flood zone? Didn't know that did ya. This is how they (goverment) help cover those others.

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 2, 2011

    While the first estimate were going to be low, so there really won't any reason to pay attention to it. Now, these farmer do have crop insurance, and years has shown, they get paid a very well estimate of what that crop could of been. Alway have and always will. It's not just the tobacco, these farmer had soybean and other crops in the field, Corn is at an all time high right now. I've seen farmer pray for something like this to save money of fuel and labor and get top dollars for crops, so I'm not going to say "oh how pityful" for those who didn't have crop insurance, that just plain ____________ insert any word.

  • vraptor Sep 2, 2011

    Let the farmers bail themselves out. They knew the probabilities. If it is not water damage. It is drought damage. Take a clue from the pot farmers. Plant in doors in controlled environments. How many farmers lost their crops west of I95 because of drought??? Do we bail them out also???

    My veggies garden did not make it this year because of drought. Do I get a buy out???

  • MudLife Sep 2, 2011

    Hurrikin Irene is gone already must we keep talking about it in every story i mean really?