Society

NC Denied 99 Percent Of Funds Requested For Flood Relief

| by Michael Howard

North Carolina just found out that it will receive less than 1 percent of the federal funds it requested to help the state recover from Hurricane Matthew.

Hurricane Matthew battered the East Coast in October 2016. In North Carolina, the storm killed more than 20 people and caused widespread damage to homes, businesses, farms and public facilities. The state had requested $929 million from the federal government to assist in recovery.

The federal government has reportedly authorized $6.1 million, prompting North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to issue an angry statement to President Donald Trump, House Speaker Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Senate Majority Leader Democratic Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.

"I write to express shock and disappointment in the lack of federal funding for Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts in North Carolina, and to encourage you to prioritize North Carolina's urgent request for help," Cooper wrote in a letter dated May 10.

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"North Carolina is steadily recovering, but too many people still can't go back to their homes or return to offices, schools, farms or places of worship due to water damage, debris, mildew and road closures," he continued. "More than 82,000 households have registered with FEMA for help. Families displaced by the storm remain in hotels, due in part to a lack of rental and low-income housing."

Cooper said the $6.1 million in federal funds is "shockingly less" than what is required to fix the state's infrastructure and added that the federal government has an obligation to provide more assistance.

"As we look ahead to the 2018 budget cycle and the prospect of drastic reductions in domestic spending, the need in North Carolina is still very real," he wrote. "Many affected North Carolinians feel that they have been forgotten, and though the flood waters may have receded, I refuse to let their needs go unmet. Whether through an immediate supplemental spending bill or through the 2018 appropriation process, the federal government must rise to the occasion to support this recovery."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated that Hurricane Matthew cost North Carolina a total of $1.5 billion, according to PBS.

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Earl Nail, a Vietnam veteran whose life was turned upside down by the storm, told WRAL he still hasn't seen most of the money he was promised by the federal government.

"A lot of people still suffering," Nail said. "I haven’t got paid yet, but yet I hear billions and millions to send overseas and doing this and doing that. Billions for building walls. Come on, man, you know how many people are out there suffering."

Sources: State of North Carolina Office of the Governor, PBS, WRAL / Photo Credit: Paul Brennan/publicdomainpictures.net

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