Disaster assistance tops $5.1 million

Published 11:05 am Monday, November 15, 2010

The Disaster Recovery Centers now stand empty, but in their wake, over $5.1 million in state and federal grants was distributed to Eastern North Carolina residents to help them recover from severe storms and flooding caused by Tropical Storm Nicole.

Those grants were distributed over a four-week period, beginning in early October after President Barack Obama signed an order that declared 10 counties, including Bertie and Hertford, as federal disaster areas.

“All remaining Disaster Recovery Centers closed as of Nov. 13, but disaster assistance is still available to eligible homeowners and renters who register by Dec. 13 with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),” State Emergency Management Director Doug Hoell said.

Individuals may receive grants for housing and other needs from FEMA and state programs and low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Businesses and nonprofit organizations of all sizes may apply for disaster loans, but are not eligible for grants.

According to the latest numbers:

More than $2.8 million has been approved from FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program for temporary housing and home repairs.

More than $754,700 has been approved in Other Needs Assistance, a joint state-federal program that helps to replace personal property and pay medical, dental, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs.

More than $1.5 million has been approved in SBA low-interest disaster loans.

Homeowners and renters who applied to FEMA for disaster assistance and received SBA loan applications are urged to complete and return them to the SBA by the Dec. 13 deadline. A completed SBA loan application is a critical component to be considered for some financial disaster assistance from FEMA.

“If you haven’t registered, don’t wait any longer – there are only 30 days left,” said Federal Coordinating Officer W. Montague Winfield.

More than 2,900 residents have visited Disaster Recovery Centers operated jointly by FEMA and the State of North Carolina, with support from the SBA.

In other figures as of Nov. 12:

More than 4,000 people have registered with FEMA for disaster assistance.

More than 3,300 damaged homes have been inspected by FEMA.

More than 5,400 in-person contacts have been made by state and FEMA Community Relations specialists. They’ve visited more than 4,400 homes, more than 1,000 businesses, more than 300 community-based organizations and more than 500 faith-based organizations, providing information in English and Spanish.

Nearly 18,500 pieces of literature have been distributed by FEMA mitigation specialists in Disaster Recovery Centers and at outreach locations in 11 home improvement stores, including Ace Home Center in Ahoskie. Publications range from technical rebuilding manuals to handouts with information about how to make a family disaster plan or get a pet ready in an emergency.

Individuals can register for disaster assistance with FEMA by going online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 800-462-7585.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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