Gov. Pat McCrory
plans to call a special session of the legislature within the next
month to address Hurricane Matthew recovery plans, but the date and
details of any request depend heavily on end-of-year action in
that although the timing of the session hinges on the federal
calendar, he expected to ask lawmakers to convene by late November or
initial meeting Tuesday of the newly formed Hurricane Matthew
Recovery Committee, the governor unveiled more details of how the
state plans to deal with the long-term effects of the early October
storm that caused billions of dollars in damage and is blamed in the
deaths of 28 people, most of them trapped in cars swept away by
33 members and growing, was put together in the wake of Hurricane
Matthew to seek local input and help coordinate long-term recovery
efforts in the 41 affected counties.
floodwaters finally receded in late October, Matthew’s effects
linger in many parts of eastern North Carolina. About 300 roads
remain closed and more than 1,000 homes are still without power.
On the immediate
horizon is assembling cost projections and damage assessments ahead
of the return of Congress the week after election. Emergency
Management Director Mike Sprayberry said he is working to finalize
initial assessments of needs for North Carolina. The state plans to
submit a formal request for federal disaster assistance on Nov. 14.
stretched at the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other
federal relief programs due to a string of natural disasters this
year, Congress is likely to either develop a separate, supplemental
funding bill or fold the requests into the end-of-year budget
North Carolina will have to compete for funds with Louisiana and West
Virginia, both hard hit by flooding, as well as other southeastern
states with damage from Matthew. The governor said he has been in
contact with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley about areas of
collaboration. If congressional action is delayed, the state would
still need to move forward this year, McCrory said, and not wait for
the 2017 session, which won’t begin until later in January.
Director Drew Heath said the state is in good financial shape in the
short term with about $22.1 million available in two main disaster
Heath said the
state will start paying out reimbursement requests from state and
local agencies in the next few weeks. He does not expect the state to
run out of recovery money before Congress and the state legislature
legislation would expand local school calendar flexibility and
include funding for agencies that are using reserve money to fund
recovery efforts, including the Department of Transportation,
Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Agriculture and
Consumer Services. The governor also needs the legislature’s
approval to dip into the state’s so-called rainy day fund to cover
costs not met by the federal aid or existing emergency funds.
recovery plan, the state Department of Emergency Management would
coordinate federal assistance, conduct damage assessments and work
with local officials. The Hurricane Matthew Recovery Committee would
be responsible for working directly with communities on fundraising
for housing, small business recovery and resiliency planning. In some
cases, the governor said, communities will have to decide whether it
is worth rebuilding in flood-prone areas.
federal aid programs to North Carolina continue to expand.
a key concern. In the aftermath of the storm more than 3,700
residents were housed in 109 emergency shelters. That number has
dropped to 248 in four shelters.
Turner, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer for North Carolina,
said the agency is looking an array of options to move thousands more
out of hotels and other temporary solutions.
important thing right now, absolutely, is housing,” she said. More
than 1,500 people are living in hotels, she said.
Over the past
two weeks FEMA has been opening assistance offices and hiring
temporary workers at several locations on the coast. Turner estimates
that more than 1,000 government workers and contractors are on the
ground in the disaster area.
On Tuesday, six
coastal counties were added to the list eligible for federal Disaster
Food and Nutrition Services. Residents who suffered losses from
Matthew in Brunswick, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Halifax and
Pasquotank counties are now able to apply for food assistance.
Residents Needed for
Disaster Recovery Jobs
North Carolinians looking for temporary work now have an opportunity
to be part of the team to help their state recover from Hurricane
Matthew, and to learn firsthand about the recovery process. North
Carolina Works, in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management
Agency, is advertising open temporary positions.
If interested in working with FEMA, you can visit the NC Works
workforce office serving your area or visit www.ncworks.gov to find
available job opportunities. You also may call 919-560-6880.
Positions are posted as the need arises. FEMA will be here to help
the people of North Carolina recover for as long as needed.
If seeking a job with FEMA, you must be a U.S. citizen 18 years of
age or older and have a valid government identification card, such as
a driver’s license or military ID. Before hiring, candidates will
be subject to a complete background investigation and fingerprinting.
Individuals and groups wishing to help in Hurricane Matthew relief
efforts through financial or other contributions to the North
Carolina Disaster Relief Fund may do so by texting NCRECOVERS to
30306 or by visiting NCDisasterRelief.org.
The Community Care Clinic of Dare will sponsor an over-the-counter
medicine giveaway at the Hatteras Civic Center at 56658 N.C. 12 from
10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15. There are no special
requirements for eligibility. Everything is free. Various items
include cold and allergy medicine; digestive aides; pain relief;
vitamins and supplements; cough medicine; and personal care items.
article is provided by Coastal Review Online, an online news service
covering North Carolina's coast. For more news, features, and
information about the coast, go to www.coastalreview.org.)