Written by Staff
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 16:59
RALEIGH — Governor Pat McCrory is establishing a Hurricane Matthew Recovery Committee to coordinate efforts torebuild after the storm. The governor made the announcement during an address from the State Capitol, in which he highlighted the immediate action the state has taken to respond to the storm and outlined long-term plans being made to recover.
“I saw firsthand as I traveled the state how the strong waters from the Lumber, Neuse, Cape Fear and Tar Rivers tragically forced people from their homes and businesses. But those waters also brought out the best of North Carolina,” said Governor McCrory in an address at the State Capitol in Raleigh. “Rising waters can crumble our roads and flood our communities, but they cannot wash away our resilience or the spirit to rebuild.”
A total of 27 people have now died in North Carolina as a result of Hurricane Matthew.
The Hurricane Matthew Recovery Committee will help meet five objectives: to raise money for those in need through the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund for Hurricane Matthew, particularly in regards to providing permanent housing; reopen and rebuild critical infrastructure as fast and as safe as possible; implement a comprehensive strategy for how to rebuild towns and communities in a sustainable way; assess the storm’s financial impact on agriculture, small businesses, commercial fishermen and other industries, and develop an economic recovery plan of action; and implement a plan for any needed legislative action for any additional relief funding.
The Committee will be chaired by Governor McCrory’s Chief of Staff Thomas Stith. Other co-chairs include Steve Wordsworth of Rocky Mount representing the business community, Anne Faircloth of Clinton representing the agriculture community and Vanessa Harrison of AT&T representing the utilities.
In addition to the committee, the governor highlighted action that has been taken to respond to the storm
Governor McCrory signed an executive order calling on legislators to provide flexibility with the school calendar for schools that were closed because of the storm. The governor is also requesting that school boards not reschedule lost school days until after legislative action can be taken.
The state has also taken measures to provide disaster food stamp benefits in impacted counties to those who receive SNAP benefits and those who are not normally eligible. The governor has approved disaster unemployment assistance for those who lost their jobs as a result of Hurricane Matthew, and extended the tax filing deadline and waived the late penalty for any taxpayer in impacted counties.
Working with federal partners, Governor McCrory announced that $21.9 million in federal funding has been approved for individual assistance. Six Disaster Recovery Centers have opened in eastern North Carolina where individuals can apply for assistance to help pay for housing, medical and dental needs, disaster unemployment assistance and other storm-related needs. Centers are open in Nash, Harnett, Wilson, Edgecombe, Johnston and Wayne counties. People in need of storm-related assistance can call FEMA’s hotline at 800-621-3362.
Nearly 1,000 people continue to reside in 20 shelters that remain open across eastern and central North Carolina. The number of power outages is now below 600, down from more than 800,000 at the storm’s peak.
More than 500 roads are still closed due to damage or flooding from the hurricane. The latest road conditions and updates can be found by downloading the ReadyNC mobile app or calling 5-1-1.
All North Carolina rivers are expected to be below flood stage by Monday. The Lumber, Cape Fear, Neuse and Tar rivers have crested with the exception of some areas near the coast. The Lumber River is receding throughout Robeson County and is forecast to drop to minor flood stage today. The Neuse River at Kinston is expected to drop below major flood stage by Thursday and the Neuse River at Goldsboro is no longer at flood stage. The Tar River at Tarboro remains at minor flood stage and is expected to drop below normal flood stage today. The Tar River in Greenville remains in major flood stage but is receding and is expected to drop below major flood stage today.
The governor encouraged individuals and groups to help in the relief efforts by making a financial or other contribution. Monetary contributions to the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund for Hurricane Matthew can be made by texting NCRECOVERS to 30306 or by visiting NCDisasterRelief.org. This is one of the best ways to help fund long-term recovery efforts. Also, a list of organizations assisting with the North Carolina relief effort can be found at NCvoad.org.
Dial 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162 to speak with a trained call specialist about questions you have regarding Hurricane Matthew or go to the United Way’s N.C. 2-1-1 site at http://www.unitedwaync.org/nc211. For updates on Hurricane Matthew impacts and relief efforts, go to ReadyNC.org or follow N.C. Emergency Management on Twitter and Facebook. (NCNN)