Hertford County added to FEMA list

Published 11:14 am Friday, April 22, 2011

WINTON – Their plea for help fell on friendly ears.

Originally excluded from the individual assistance list, Hertford County officials have successfully lobbied state and congressional leaders to have county homeowners and businesses impacted by last Saturday’s twin tornados added as part of North Carolina’s federal disaster declaration.

Those efforts paid off on Thursday when officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that Hertford County citizens and business owners who suffered damage due to the storm will qualify for individual assistance from the federal government.

Earlier this week, only Hertford County local government and certain private nonprofit organization were eligible, on a cost-sharing basis, for the costs they incurred in relation to debris removal and emergency protective measures due to the April 16 tornados that struck the NC 45 area of southeastern Hertford County (between Harrellsville and Colerain).

“Loria (Williams, Hertford County Manager) worked the phones hard this week, talking with Senator (Ed) Jones, Representative (Annie) Mobley and the Governor’s Office to make this happen,” said Johnnie Ray Farmer, Chairman of the Hertford County Board of Commissioners. “(Commissioner) Howard (Hunter III) did his part by lobbying Congressman (G.K.) Butterfield to have our citizens and business owners added as part of the federal disaster declaration.”

Farmer said that as soon as Governor Bev Perdue realized that Hertford County was not included as part of the individual assistance list, she requested an amendment to the original declaration.

“We had our fingers crossed and were hoping for the best,” Farmer noted. “One thing we had in our favor was that both the Governor and Congressman Butterfield were in Hertford and Bertie counties on Monday. They saw the damage first-hand.

“We’re pleased that our citizens will be eligible for the federal aid. For those affected by these tornados and are without insurance, this declaration will be of great assistance to them. Hopefully this declaration will include temporary housing for our citizens who lost their homes or their homes were damaged and are in need of repair. They need somewhere to live while they are rebuilding or making repairs,” Farmer closed.

Individual assistance directly aids homeowners and renters, including grants to help pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses not met by insurance or other assistance programs.  Also low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are available to cover residential and businesses losses not fully compensated by insurance.

Seven other counties were added to the individual assistance list. They were Craven, Currituck, Greene, Hoke, Pitt, Robeson and Sampson.

Counties previously designated are Bertie, Bladen, Cumberland, Halifax, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Onslow, Wake and Wilson.

Affected survivors and business owners in the newly designated counties may apply for assistance by calling FEMA’s toll-free registration number, 800-621-FEMA (3362). The hearing or speech impaired can use the TTY line at 800-462-7585. The registration lines are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., local time.

An application may also be completed online by going to www.disasterassistance.gov. Survivors can also apply for federal assistance directly through their web enabled mobile phone devices or smartphones. Visit m.fema.gov and follow the link to www.disasterassistance.gov to apply for federal assistance.

Registration through the mobile site takes three steps:

Go to m.fema.gov and click “Apply Online for FEMA Assistance.”  You will be directed to FEMA’s partner site, www.disasterassistance.gov. There, click on “Start Registration” and fill out the registration form.

FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

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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