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Gov. Hunt Gives Hope to Greene County Flood Victims

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GREENE COUNTY — Thousands of North Carolina farmers will never forget the flooding from Hurricane Floyd. The disaster could put 15 percent of them out of business.

Monday, Gov. Jim Hunt toured a farm in Greene County heavily damaged by flood waters.

Jerry Jones showed the governor the damage to his family farm. He lost ten barns of baled tobacco in the flood. Water also swept through 400 acres of his crops, destroying cucumbers, cotton, soybeans and corn.

"There's not a whole lot you can do," says Jones. "It's just frustrating to know that you've put in all this work to get some kind of return to try to pay your bills and it's all gone in one whack."

The Greene County farmer estimates he lost $100,000 worth of crops -- about three-fourths of his income.

Hunt promised to lobby for federal aid on behalf of North Carolina's farmers.

"We've never had this great of a disaster. It is time for everybody in the Congress from North Carolina, both parties, to put this first," says Hunt.

Nearly 600 Green County residents want help fromFEMAto repair their homes and businesses. Some are getting frustrated with the process.

"I've been to FEMA every day since last Monday. They say 'if' and 'maybe'. They will not say yes or no. They are sitting in there twiddling their thumbs because people won't come in because they get so disgusted when they come out," says flood victim Sandra Harrell.

Residents cannot get any federal money until FEMA inspects their property. Hunt promised to help cut through the red tape.

Money will be available through FEMA to farmers and residents who were flooded out of their homes and businesses.

There are tens of thousands of people who are on waiting lists, so it could be awhile before inspectors can get out to all of the properties.

Gov. Hunt is headed to Washington Tuesday to clear the way for funds to get to the people who need it as soon as possible.

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Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
Joe Frieda, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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