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Gov. Hunt Declares Disaster, Asks Feds For Help

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RALEIGH — February 3, 1996 - 3:55 p.m. EST

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Governor Jim Hunt has again declared a state of disaster for all 100 North Carolina counties, and the Cherokee Reservation. He has asked President Clinton to declare a state of emergency here.

"This is one of the most wide-spread natural disasters to strike our state in many years, and I am very concerned about the safety of our citizens," Hunt said. "The State Emergency Response Team has been called out and they are using all of their resources to deal with a multitude of problems."

Gov. Hunt acknowledged that utility crews are working around the clock to restore electricity, phone service and water for thousands of residents, and called upon citizens to do what they can to help each other.

"I urge everyone to check on your friends and neighbors," he said.

State Emergency Management officials report wide-spread power outages across much of the state, and say some areas may be without power for several days.

N.C. Forest Service and Department of Transportation crews are working to clear roads blocked by downed trees, while the National Guard has provided power generators to hospitals, emergency communications centers and shelters in areas affected by power outages. National Guard all-terrain vehicles are being used to transport medical emergencies in some areas.

According to the Highway Patrol, most roads are open, butallare covered with snow and/or ice, and drivers can expect travel to be treacherous for the next several days.

Billy Ray Cameron, Director of the Emergency Management Division, says people must be patient while crews work continuously to get things back to normal.

"The only thing that is going to remove this ice is warm weather," he said.

With WRAL-TV 5's Greg Fishel predicting high temperatures of only 25 Sunday and 32 Monday, the Triangle area isn't likely to see much lessening of icy conditions before Tuesday at the earliest

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