RALEIGH, N.C. -- State and local governments and private nonprofit agencies in North Carolina are seeking more than $79 million in federal assistance to help them recover from the costly damage caused by hurricanes Floyd and Irene.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is currently processing 517 applications for funds under its Public Assistance program, which helps restore essential public facilities and services following a presidentially declared disaster.
Most are seeking reimbursement of emergency spending for debris removal, restoration of public utilities and overtime pay for police and other public employees called out in the storm emergency for recovery operations.
Among North Carolina's requests are $16.8 million for debris removal, $27 million for protective measures (police, public employees), $1.7 million for roads and bridges, $13 million for public buildings, $18 million for utilities and $1.3 million for damaged recreational facilities.
"These applicants were hard hit by the extraordinary cost of restoring essential public facilities and services and safeguarding the public," said Glenn C. Woodard of FEMA, federal coordinating officer for recovery operations. "Public assistance steps in when these unexpected expenses exceed the reach of local budgets."
FEMA pays 75 percent of the cost of eligible projects, an amount expected to be approximately $48 million. The application period for new requests expires Nov. 29, but those who have given notice will have additional time to complete damage assessments.
Public assistance became available when President Clinton issued a major disaster declaration on Sept. 16. The program applies to governments and private non-profit agencies that fill an essential public need, such as electric cooperatives. FEMA received 84 requests for public assistance totaling $2.5 million under the declaration issued for Hurricane Dennis.