HC losses estimated at $1.82 million

Published 9:39 am Thursday, April 21, 2011

Saturday’s twin tornados are blamed on causing nearly two million dollars worth of property damage in Hertford County.

Local officials have been working the affected area – basically confined to the southeastern corner along the NC 45 corridor between Harrellsville and Colerain – where they have estimated the damages as follows:

13 homes destroyed with a combined value of $1,234,558;

18 homes with major damage (resulting in condemnation) valued at $506,578; and

36 homes receiving $79,200 worth of minor damage.

Those numbers total $1,820,336 in estimated damages.

Hertford County Emergency Management Director Chris Smith noted that these estimates do not include forest land or agricultural losses.

“On Tuesday, Hertford County Emergency Management and the North Carolina Office of Emergency Management began the assessment with State and FEMA officials regarding qualification on individual assistance,” Smith said. “A disaster recovery center has not yet opened.”

While county, state and federal assistance is ongoing, other groups are providing aid to Hertford County citizens. Smith noted that volunteer groups such as the NC Baptist Men, local Hertford County volunteer fire departments and others have and are providing assistance to property owners needing trees cut or tarps applied to roofs. The American Red Cross is providing hot meals.

Meanwhile, North Carolina Department of Correction crews arrived Wednesday to remove debris from agricultural fields. Hertford County farmers are required to request that assistance and must sign a waiver for the prisoners to work their property. Smith stressed that prison labor will not be used in yards of property owners.

Citizens in the affected area of Hertford County are urged not burn yard debris from storm. Smith said that debris needs to be placed near the shoulder of the road where NCDOT is responsible for picking up that material. No building materials should be burned.

Storm debris can be placed on the DOT right-of-way (no closer than five feet from the white line of the road’s shoulder) in the following areas:  Christian Harbor Road, Cullen Road, Baker Road on NC 45 end to Bakertown Road, Evanstown Road on NC 45 end to Bakertown Road, NC 45 from Christian Harbor Road to the Bertie County line, and Swains Mill Road from the bridge to the Bertie County line. Yard debris and house debris should be separated if possible when placed on the shoulder. Appliances will not be collected from the right-a-way.

Hertford County citizens with questions about disaster recovery can call Emergency Management in Winton at 358-7861.

At its meeting on Monday night, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners voted to waive building permit fees for victims in the affected area. Those who have condemned homes and needing information regarding what to do next, they need to contact the Building Inspector at 358-7814.

Smith urged homeowners whose property was affected by the storm to document their damage and begin repairs and clean-up.

“If you have homeowners insurance, please contact your insurance agent immediately to report your claim. They can also provide documentation for uninsured losses,” Smith said.

He reminded homeowners to determine if there are other services to cancel for a period of time, such as phone and cable television. Also, if you are displaced from your home or rental unit, provide a change of address to your post office. This will ensure that your mail continues to be delivered.

Smith also suggested the following check list of items that affected homeowners need to address:

Notify your home mortgage company or your landlord of disaster damage to the property. Tell them how to best contact you. If you have lost your rental or mortgage agreement, request a copy.

If you have vehicle damage or loss, contact your auto insurance agent. Find out how long it will take to process your claim. Ask if you have coverage for car rental. Let the agent know how to best contact you. Request a copy of your policy if missing.

If you anticipate having difficulty paying bills, call your creditors and explain the disaster loss. Arrange payment plans before you get an overdue notice.

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.

email author More by Cal