PENDER COUNTY — Nearly two years after Hurricane Florence caused widespread flooding in the low-lying areas of Pender County, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the state of North Carolina have approved $8.3 million to reimburse the county for debris removal after the storm.
The additional reimbursement brings the total to more than $15 million in reimbursements provided to the county for Florence-related expenses.
Paid through FEMA’s Public Assistance cost-sharing program, FEMA’s share for this round of reimbursements is $6.2 million while the state will pay more than $2 million.
The money will reimburse county expenses for the removal of damaged trees, vegetation, construction materials, and “white goods” — washers, dryers, freezers, stoves, and the likes — due to Hurricane Florence.
Debris management was one of four “primary areas for improvement” outlined in the county’s ‘After Action Report’ issued more than 10 months after the hurricane made landfall.
The issue was a heated topic in Pender County in the months after the hurricane. A photo collection published in late October showed extensive debris piles along U.S. 53 just northeast of Burgaw. In November, the county agreed to spend $600,000 to remove hurricane debris along private, unpaved roads following months of public pressure.