North Carolina officials are asking for nearly $1 billion in federal disaster relief funds, saying the eastern part of the state, especially, is struggling to rebuild and recover months after Hurricane Matthew struck and caused devastating flooding.
It’s the second request for financial help that state officials have sent federal appropriators since Hurricane Matthew.
Though the emergency nature of the disaster has passed, the urgency of long-term recovery remains.
N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper
With the first request, Congress approved about $300 million in federal aid for North Carolina. Much of that money went toward debris clearing, rebuilding homes and businesses, and providing temporary housing for families displaced by the October 2016 hurricane.
But state officials say that first request was sent with less than two months of time to assess all damages and estimate how much assistance was needed. The short time frame was needed for North Carolina’s initial hurricane relief aid to be included in a December short-term federal budget resolution passed by Congress to avoid a government shutdown.
The hurricane and flooding caused 26 deaths in North Carolina.
N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper’s office says Hurricane Matthew caused an estimated $4.8 billion in damages, the worst of which hit central and eastern North Carolina. Nearly 100,000 homes were damaged and more than 19,000 businesses affected.
State officials want more than $929 million in federal relief funding to pay for needs like:
▪ $245.5 million for home repairs, including repairs for destroyed public housing in two counties and helping homeowners rebuild.
▪ $434 million to buy homes most likely to be flooded again and to elevate private homes in at-risk floodzones.
▪ $92.6 million for farmers who suffered losses of agricultural equipment, livestock and feed.
▪ $39 million to assist small businesses.
▪ $37 million for health care services, repairs at medical facilities, child care centers and social service agencies.
Cooper said in a news statement Thursday that federal funds weren’t guaranteed and he would ask the N.C. General Assembly to find state funding for unmet needs.
“Though the emergency nature of the disaster has passed, the urgency of long-term recovery remains,” he said. “The success of the recovery will affect the economic health and well-being of our entire state, so it’s vital to rebuild these communities.”
Cooper’s request also includes funds for the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the U.S. Coast Guard operating in North Carolina.