State and Local Leaders Provide Update on Hurricane Matthew Recovery Efforts
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Press Release Courtesy of Senator Bill Cook --- State and local leaders held a press conference Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016 in Kitty Hawk near the Black Pelican Restaurant, where crews are working to repair a section of the roadway that was damaged by both Hurricane Matthew and Tropical Storm Hermine. Governor Pat McCrory's Secretary of Administration, Kathryn Johnston, Lt. Governor Dan Forest, Senator Bill Cook, Dare County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Woodard, Kitty Hawk Mayor Gary Perry, and officials from the N.C. Department of Transportation provided an update on recovery efforts.
"Announced last week, Governor Pat McCrory established a Hurricane Matthew Recovery Committee to coordinate efforts to rebuild after the storm. The governor highlighted the immediate action the state has taken to respond to the storm and outlined long- term plans being made to recover," Secretary Johnston said.
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.
"We are on a very long road to recovery here in North Carolina. Nobody east of Raleigh was immune to this storm and the damages that this storm wrecked upon our state," Lt. Governor Forest said. "The task force that has been established by Governor McCrory is going to be in place to deal with the long term recovery process here in North Carolina."
Working with federal partners, Governor McCrory announced that $21.9 million in federal funding has been approved for individual assistance. 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.
"I would like to thank Governor Pat McCrory and his administration for their outstanding leadership during these strenuous times," Senator Cook said. "I commend our first responders - North Carolina is blessed to have an emergency response team that's truly second to none."
The governor has also 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. "This storm brought unprecedented flooding to Dare County that our citizens are trying to recoup from. There were well over 4,500 residents in all of Dare County that had damages due to Hurricane Matthew. Currently Dare County Public Works is actively engaged in storm debris collection throughout unincorporated Dare County," said Chairman Woodard, Dare County Board of Commissioners.
Additionally, in an effort to provide relief to residents impacted by Hurricane Matthew, Governor McCrory has directed the Division of Motor Vehicles to temporarily waive certain fees for customers in counties affected by Hurricane Matthew. While motor vehicle property taxes will still be due during an annual registration renewal, DMV will waive the following fees in the above-listed counties until December 1, 2016:
License/ID Card Fees:
Duplicate Drivers License: $13
Duplicate CDL: $13
New or Duplicate Special ID: $13
Duplicate or Corrected Title: $20
Replacement Registration Plates: $20
Duplicate Registration Card: $20
Registration Renewal Late Fees: $15-$25
Applying for Individual Disaster Assistance As of October 10, 2016, a major disaster declaration was given for several counties affected by Hurricane Matthew. FEMA said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed.
You can apply for assistance online here or by calling toll-free 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Those with a speech or hearing impairment should call TTY 1-800-462-7585. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.
Applying for SBA's Disaster Loan Program In addition, several counties are eligible for Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance. Small businesses wishing to apply for assistance will need to fill out an assistance application by clicking here or by calling 1-800-659-2955. If you have any trouble with your SBA assistance application, please call one of our offices so we can assist with your efforts.
Agriculture Disaster Hotline Those who have farms and need assistance can call the Agriculture Disaster Hotline at 1-866- 645-9403.
Shelters The Red Cross currently has shelters open throughout the state of North Carolina to provide lodging, food and other assistance. For more information, call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733- 2767) or click here.
NCDOT Updates and Road Closures For real-time road closure and traffic conditions in your area, drivers are urged to visit ReadyNC.org or call 5-1-1.
Disaster Distress Helpline The Department of Health and Human Services has set up a 24 hours-a-day, seven- days-a- week Disaster Distress Helpline for people seeking crisis counseling. Residents can call 1-800- 985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.