NC disaster response has smaller budget

Posted July 28, 2011 7:00 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina's Emergency Management Division is dealing with a smaller budget as hurricane season stretches into the summer.

Amid widespread cuts in the state budget, the Emergency Management Division lost 15.4 percent, or $539,000, from its 2009-10 funding level. The agency is working with a $2.96 million budget this year, down from $3.5 million a year earlier.

Federal grant money, though, is filling in the hole in the Emergency Management Division's budget.

State leaders expressed confidence that North Carolina is capable of responding well to emergencies.

"I feel like we're in a position to be able to respond to what might come our way," Emergency Management Director Doug Hoell said. "The challenge is the long-term recovery and to pay for the responses we have to do."

"I know that in North Carolina we'll step up and do what we have to do," Gov. Bev Perdue said. "We have the National Guard and the capacity to bring in people across the country."

If a major hurricane hits North Carolina, the federal government will step in to help with emergency response.

"I pray that North Carolina is not hit again this season or for a lot of years. We've been lucky for six years, and I pray that we stay lucky," Perdue said.