President Trump approved Friday Gov. Roy Cooper’s request for a major disaster declaration for 14 eastern North Carolina counties affected by Hurricane Dorian.
The approval allows Brunswick, Carteret, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Hyde, Jones, New Hanover, Pamlico, Pender, Sampson, Tyrrell and Washington to receive support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Public Assistance program, providing reimbursement to local governments for costs of debris removal, lifesaving emergency protective measures and the repair, replacement or restoration of disaster-damaged publicly owned facilities. Certain private nonprofit organizations can also be eligible for reimbursement.
“North Carolina’s coastal communities – particularly Ocracoke and those on the Outer Banks – were hit hard by Hurricane Dorian and it’s critical that they have access to FEMA Public Assistance and the federal resources necessary to recover. This is a positive step and we continue to urge our federal partners and North Carolina’s congressional delegation to work to expedite approval of our request for Individual Assistance for families whose homes were destroyed as well,” Cooper said in a statement.
North Carolina requested public assistance Sept. 13. Cooper also requested on Sept 21 a major disaster declaration for individual assistance, which if approved, would provide grants to residents who suffered damage from Dorian and could open the door to additional FEMA recovery programs, like temporary housing.
The individual assistance request remains under review and state officials have urged federal agencies and North Carolina’s congressional delegation to work to expediate federal approval.
Cooper and state officials surveyed the recovery process underway on Ocracoke Island Thursday. Cooper’s office said Ocracoke faces unique challenges and the state continues to provide critical support services to the island including the following:
- A team of emergency managers to support Hyde County officials in coordinating response and recovery efforts.
- Airlift of food, water and emergency personnel to island.
- Two Urban Search and Rescue task forces that provided the initial search of island, helped evacuate injured and assisted with donations and supply management and other tasks in days following the storm.
- Emergency fuel supplies and repairs to get fuel service available.
- Damage assessment teams to document the need for federal help.
- N.C. Office of Emergency Medical Services is providing a mobile medical clinic staffed by physician and eight-person medical team.
- Mental health counselors who have made hundreds of contacts with residents in need.
- Food preparation and feeding by volunteer organizations with more than 10,000 meals served.
- Laundry and shower units from Baptists on Mission.
- National Guard cleared roads and removed boats from roadways.
- Four Alcohol Law Enforcement agents assisting Hyde County Sheriff’s Department in addition to other counties sheriff’s deputies.
- Cleanup and disposal of dead fish and marine life by N.C. National Guard.
- National Guard personnel and equipment to assist with transportation and donations management.
- 50 portable toilets and 32 handwashing stations.
- Several volunteer groups supported by the state are at work on the island mucking out houses.
- N.C. Department of Insurance working with insurers to remove flooded vehicles from island.
- Distribution of relief supplies from fire department being managed by local government, with help from volunteer agencies and local volunteers.
- A central receiving and distribution point has been established on the mainland to manage the flow of supplies and donated goods onto the island.
- The Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Health Service Regulation will leave and maintain the mobile disaster hospital assets while the Ocracoke health center is being repaired.
- N.C. Department of Transportation and the Ferry Division are maintaining additional ferry routes between Hatteras and Ocracoke-Silver Lake to address public concerns.