Friday, April 19, 2024

FEMA approves first $3.9 million for Pender County’s post-Florence debris removal, more to come

The reimbursement only covers a portion of the total $14 million that the county has spent to date on total post-Florence debris removal.

One of the piles of house debris on U.S. 53 just northeast of Burgaw near the Northeast Cape Fear River. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
A large pile of house debris on U.S. 53 just northeast of Burgaw near the Northeast Cape Fear River, pictured weeks after Hurricane Florence. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

PENDER COUNTY — FEMA has announced the approval of $3.9 million to reimburse Pender County for the removal of debris following Hurricane Florence.

The approved funds cover work completed through Nov. 5 by county-hired contractors removing vegetation and other debris from public rights of way throughout the county, according to a release sent by FEMA spokesperson John Mills.

County spokesperson Tammy Proctor said on Tuesday that this amount only covers a portion of the approximately $14 million that the county has spent to date on total post-Florence debris cleanup and removal.

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“Pender County has submitted one bill for debris removal and that was up until November 5. Our debris removal (now being transferred from our sites to landfills) is technically still not complete because the sites are in the process of being cleaned,” Proctor said.

She said contractor DRC Emergency Services is now transferring the debris from collection sites, where debris was taken after it was picked up from private properties near public rights of ways to landfills. At the collection sites, contractors sorted the debris to fulfill FEMA guidelines and crushed all construction and demolition debris, according to Proctor.

“There will be more bills submitted and more reimbursements to come,” Proctor said.

According to Mills, the reimbursement comes under the agency’s cost-sharing program that reimburses applicants no less than 75 percent of eligible costs while the remaining 25 percent is covered by state funds.

“FEMA’s share for this project was $2.9 million,” Mills said. “The federal portion is paid directly to the state, which disburses funds to the agencies, local governments and to certain private nonprofit organizations that incurred costs.”

On Monday George Brown, Chairman of the Pender County Board of Commissioners, said county officials met last week to discuss lessons learned from Florence and that designated committees are beginning to put together a final action report.

Also on Monday FEMA announced that more than $1.2 billion in federal assistance had been provided to Florence victims through flood insurance payments, temporary rental assistance, basic home repairs, and disaster loans for homeowners, renters, and businesses.

According to Monday’s release, more than 1,500 federal employees supported the disaster recovery in North Carolina — what officials say is the costliest disaster in the state’s history. The $1.2 billion in total federal assistance approved to assist the state included:

  • An estimated $593.1 million in flood claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program; more than 15,000 flood insurance claims were filed.
  • More than $394.1 million in low-interest disaster loans for 9,856 homeowners, renters, businesses, and private nonprofits.
  • More than $128 million in Individual Assistance grants for rental assistance to households, home repair or replacement, personal property, and other expenses.
  • More than $98.7 million for Public Assistance programs that fund the rebuilding of infrastructure and public structures and also reimburses local governments for emergency response during disasters) 175 projects have been funded out of 511 eligible applications).
  • Nearly $6 million paid directly to hotels for emergency sheltering of 872 families (675 have moved to longer-term housing).

Mills said more information on the state’s recovery from Hurricane Florence can be found on ncdps.gov/Florence and FEMA.gov/Disaster/4393.

FEMA released a Hurricane Florence Response Overview video in late-February, below:

 


 

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