LAURINBURG — Many residents of Scotland County can breathe a sigh of relief — the county has been approved for federal assistance, according to a FEMA release, and more than 8,000 individual assistance applications have been approved already.
Approval for the disaster assistance program means residents can apply to cover uninsured and under-insured property damage that occurred from Hurricane Florence. People who have homeowner’s or flood insurance policies must file a claim before applying for FEMA assistance.
“This is something we have been working hard towards,” said Whit Gibson, Scotland County Board of Commissioners chairman. “This will tremendously benefit people of the county and we got it very quickly.”
Storm losses and damage must have happened from Florence beginning Sept. 7, according to the release. To register, people may apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov or phone at 800-621- 3362.
The U.S Small Business Association may provide coverage — long-term and low interest disaster loans — for losses not compensated by insurance.
Other counties added along with Scotland include Hyde, Johnston, Pitt, Richmond, Wilson Hoke, Lee and Moore — bringing the total to 27 counties eligible for federal disaster relief.
“We are working with other institutions and agencies,” said Scotland County Manager Kevin Patterson. “Our goal is to have a FEMA team here by the end of the week.”
Patterson said the county is aiming for the site to be Scotland Place (and) asks the public to complete a survey online at scotlandcounty.org.
“It is an eight-question survey that helps us pinpoint damages of homes and businesses in the county for FEMA,” said Patterson.
N.C. Rep. Garland Pierce is moved to emotion when speaking of the past week and how, even in the face of adversity, the community has grown closer for it.
“I am excited for our residents; many lost all their belongings in the city and in rural areas,” said Pierce. “With the presence of FEMA and the governor this past week, it showed volumes to them of the hurt and disaster here.”
Governor calls special session
The General Assembly is expected to meet in a special session to consider funding initial needs for Hurricane Florence recovery. Gov. Cooper has requested that legislators return Oct. 9.
“As I’ve traveled around the state surveying damage and meeting with people who have lost everything, it’s clear that the destruction in eastern North Carolina is historic,” said Gov. Cooper. “Now is the time to come together and begin the work of rebuilding our communities and making families whole.”
In the coming weeks, as flood waters recede, Cooper said he will work with state agencies, local communities and stakeholders to compile a legislative appropriations request.
State of Emergency
The State Of Emergency for the city of Laurinburg was terminated as of 5 p.m. Monday. All restrictions and orders during the SOE have been lifted.
The county’s State of Emergency has also be rescinded.
Jael Pembrick can be reached at 910-506-3169 or [email protected]