Local News

FEMA Denies Assistance To N.C. Individuals, Businesses Hit By Ophelia

Posted October 26, 2005 6:44 a.m. EDT

— The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied this week Gov. Mike Easley's requests for a federal disaster declaration to assist individuals and businesses that were impacted by Hurricane Ophelia in September.

In response, Easley wrote a letter to the Small Business Administration on Wednesday and asked it to provide low-interest government loans to homeowners and businessowners.

Victims would still have to repay the loans, but Easley said the effort would help residents in 14 counties begin their recovery efforts.

More than 500 homes were damaged by Ophelia, a Category 1 storm, and then Tropical Storm Tammy in October.

"North Carolina was well prepared for these storms, but there are a number of citizens with significant damage and they need assistance to complete their recovery efforts," Easley said. "We are going to explore every avenue to secure available resources for these families."

Easley said if the loans were approved, they would be available to residents in Beaufort, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Hyde, Jones, Martin, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt and Washington counties.

FEMA had earlier provided financial assistance to several counties that were most affected by Ophelia, but officials said there was not enough damage to provide further assistance to individuals and businesses.