WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal disaster aid for North Carolina was authorized today to help families in six counties recover from the effects of Hurricane Dennis, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
FEMA Director James Lee Witt said President Clinton authorized the assistance this afternoon under a major disaster declaration requested by the state. The declaration covers damage to private property from Dennis that began buffeting the state's coastline on August 29.
The action follows the President's emergency declaration of September 1 that released federal resources to help meet immediate critical needs and funding for state and local government emergency services, including requested emergency work undertaken by the federal government.
Under the declaration, Witt said affected residents and business owners are eligible to apply for federal assistance in the counties of Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Dare, Hyde and Pamlico.
The assistance, to be coordinated by FEMA, can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, minor home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance. The declaration also makes available funding to the state on a cost-shared basis for approved projects that reduce future disaster risks.
Witt, who designated the counties eligible for assistance following the declaration, indicated that more counties may be designated later if requested and warranted by the results of the further damage assessments.
Glenn C. Woodard, federal coordinating officer for North Carolina relief operations, said residents and business owners who sustained hurricane losses in the designated counties can begin the disaster application process on Friday, September 10, by calling 1-800-462-9029, or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday until further notice.