FEMA aid tops one million locally

Published 12:15 pm Thursday, November 17, 2016

Federal dollars continue to pour into eastern North Carolina, including the Roanoke-Chowan area, in the wake of damage caused by Hurricane Matthew.

According to the latest numbers supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), aid to Bertie, Gates, Hertford and Northampton have combined to top the one million dollar mark.

As of Tuesday, Nov. 15, FEMA has received 928 applications for assistance in Bertie County where $715,014.22 has been approved.

In Hertford County, 294 applications have been made and FEMA has distributed $216,618.23 in approved assistance.

Gates County citizens have made 132 applications for federal aid. FEMA has approved $147,114.26.

Northampton County residents have filed 143 applications for aid. FEMA has approved $104,310.04.

Through Monday, Nov. 14, FEMA had received 71,689 applications from residents in over 40 counties in North Carolina that were declared as federal disaster areas. FEMA dollars approved to that point were $74.4 million.

Homeowners, business owners and renters suffering property damage from Hurricane Matthew in those approved counties can apply for Individual Assistance. Some counties, to include those in the R-C area, also qualify for federal public assistance to help support recovery efforts of local governments and non-profits.

These types of financial disaster assistance are grants that do not have to be repaid. FEMA assistance is non-taxable and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid or other federal benefits.

Eligible storm damage and losses from the hurricane and flooding must have occurred beginning Oct. 4.

If you are a survivor, you are encouraged to register with FEMA as soon as possible, even if you have insurance. FEMA is unable to duplicate insurance payments. However, if you are underinsured, you may still receive help after your insurance claims have been settled.

Locally, FEMA has a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC), located inside the Bertie County Senior Center at 103 West School Street in Windsor. That DRC is scheduled to permanently close at 6 p.m. effective today (Thursday).

The application period remains open until Dec. 9.

Residents of FEMA declared counties for who suffered losses and damage as a result of Hurricane Matthew can receive help applying for federal assistance, learn about the types of assistance available, the appeals process and get updates regarding their applications at any of the DRCs currently in operation.

All DRCs are staffed with representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, North Carolina Emergency Management and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

If you have phone and/or internet access, you may register in one of the following ways:

Online at DisasterAssistance.gov;

Call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362. It is the same number if you use 711 or Video Relay Service;

Call 800-462-7585 if you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and you use a TTY; or

Download the FEMA Mobile App and apply.

Survivors requiring a reasonable accommodation such as American Sign Language interpreting, Braille large print, etc. while visiting a disaster recovery center may call the Helpline number for support. The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. Help is available in most languages, and information on the registration process is available in ASL at http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/111546.

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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