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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Pender County lifts state of emergency 5 months after Florence

Pender County Chairman George Brown said the lifting of the state of emergency – made on September 10 as Hurricane Florence approached – was an administrative formality.

The Emergency Operations Center in Burgaw on Thursday, when Hurricane Michael had produced tornadoes in Pender County. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
The Pender County Emergency Operations Center in October, when Hurricane Michael was producing tornadoes in Pender County. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

BURGAW — At 5 p.m. Wednesday Pender County Chairman George Brown terminated the county’s state of emergency that was declared on September 10, four days before Hurricane Florence made landfall.

“A state of emergency no longer exists,” Brown said. “However, our recovery efforts will continue.”

The termination came a day before the 6-month anniversary of Florence’s landfall on the southeastern coast of North Carolina.

According to county spokesperson Tammy Proctor, since the state of emergency went into effect the county’s residents have been approved for $121.3 million in state and general funds. Additionally, an estimated $16.8 million in state and federal grants have been given to 2,671 homeowners and renters in the county.

She also said county residents incurred an estimated $261 million in damages. An additional $6.2 million in damages was incurred by non-residential structures, according to Proctor.

Brown later said the lifting of the state of emergency was “more administrative than anything else” and did not impact any policies or the restrictions of any rights of the county’s citizens.

“It’s benign in nature — just one of those things that you have to put an end to,” Brown said. “Nothing really changes from the day before as far as policy or activity or anything like that.”

“It’s just a formality,” Proctor said.

She said the state of emergency had changed the structure of the chain of command, with Emergency Manager Tom Collins having the “final authority”. It also activated the county’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

Now, according to Proctor, the chain of command returns to its routine, traditional structure and the EOC is no longer activated.

“It just closes the chapter on the administrative part of it really,” Brown said. “I don’t know what to compare it to … It’s like getting a notice from someone saying, ‘Congratulations, you graduated college.'”

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