Local News

Temporary homes on the way for Bertie tornado victims

Posted May 1, 2011 10:40 a.m. EDT

— Temporary homes will come to tornado victims in rural North Carolina counties where other short-term housing isn't easily available, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The first temporary housing will roll into Bertie County as early as Friday, FEMA spokesman Jim Homstad said. Twelve people died in Bertie County when the state's worst tornado outbreak hit on April 16.

Five other rural counties – Bladen, Harnett, Hertford, Lee and Sampson – are also eligible for mobile housing, Homstad said, but so far, there hasn't been demand for it.

He said FEMA first tries to put people in existing housing, whether single-family homes, apartments or hotels. In some sparsely populated areas, though, there just isn't enough housing available.

The temporary housing is usually mobile homes or park models, which are 400-square-feet or smaller manufactured homes that can be moved.

The homes are set up on people's property if it's safe enough and has working utilities. If not, the homes are set up in existing, nearby mobile home parks.

As of Friday, more than 4,700 people had applied with FEMA for state and federal disaster assistance, and approximately 1,100 residents had visited disaster recovery centers. So far, FEMA has given $2.2 million in rental grants to North Carolinians.


In order to get federal assistance through FEMA, homeowners must submit to an inspection that assesses damage and the livability of a home. Thirty-one FEMA inspectors have looked at 2,900 damaged homes and businesses in central and eastern North Carolina over the past two weeks.

FEMA assistance is still available for tornado victims. Call 1-800-621-3362 or visit the website to sign up.