8 more counties included in disaster declaration

Gov. Bev Perdue tours a heavily damaged neighborhood in Colerain, N.C., Monday, April 18, 2011 after a tornado ripped through the area Saturday (Jim R. Bounds)

April 21, 2011 7:57:21 PM PDT
As totals begin to come in and FEMA opens offices, Governor Beverly Perdue announced Thursday evening eight more counties are now included in the state's disaster declaration.

That brings the total to 18 counties in which residents and businesses may be eligible for federal aid. Those counties can now expect federal funds to cover 75 percent of the cost to remove debris, provide emergency protective measures and repair infrastructure. State funds are expected to cover the remaining cost.

Newly declared counties: Craven, Currituck, Greene, Hertford, Hoke, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson

Original counties: Bertie, Bladen, Cumberland, Halifax, Harnett, Johnston, Lee, Onslow, Wake, Wilson.


The City of Raleigh said Thursday that it calculates the damage from Saturday's tornadoes at more than $115 million.

That includes damage to homes and businesses. It said 138 houses and eight businesses were destroyed in the storm. Another 2,269 homes and commercial establishments received either major or minor damage.

In the hard-hit Stony Brook mobile home park, residents continued the cleanup Thursday - trying to restore a sense of normal life.

One Spanish language radio station held a last minute radiothon to collect clothes, food, and much needed furniture.

"We were overwhelmed with all the people that were coming and honestly we were prepared for a small amount of stuff that we were planning to collect," said La Jefa radio host El Picante.

Elsewhere, more than 800 people have signed up to help in Raleigh's clean-up efforts. Thursday, dozens were working in about a five-block radius in southeast Raleigh. They were determined to make a dent in the piles of storm debris still lining the streets.

"There's a lot of people out here that don't have no help out here. They need help to get their stuff cleaned up," said Frank Gates of Cary.

"I've been helped out along the way, and I just feel like it needs to be done," said Jeff Gillespy of Garner.


In Fayetteville, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has opened an office to help storm victims connect with local, state and federal assistance.

The office will be open in the Cumberland County Department of Social Services building daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. until further notice, including Easter Sunday.

Residents with damaged property can apply for low-interest federal loans of up to $240,000 for homeowners and up to $40,000 for renters for repairs or replacement of homes and other property.

Business owners may seek amounts of up to $2 million to cover losses related to Saturday's outbreak of 24 tornados across the state.

Applications also may be made by phone (800-621-3362) or online at www.fema.gov.

Insurance help

North Carolina homeowners whose insurance claims are denied for damage caused by last weekend's tornadoes may be eligible for the Disaster Mediation Program.

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin is encouraging residents to request mediation for claims that have been partially or completely denied by their insurance companies. Requests must be made within 60 days and damage must have occurred in a declared disaster area.

The no-cost mediation service is available in Bertie, Bladen, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hoke, Johnston, Lee, Onslow, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Wake and Wilson -- all counties included among disaster areas declared by President Barack Obama.

Cars and commercial property are not eligible.

Any homeowner can file a complaint with the Department of Insurance's Consumer Services Division at (800) 546-5664.

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