North Carolina is expected to get just 0.7 percent of the federal relief aid it requested to rebuild and recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday, May 10.
The Trump administration has promised to grant just $6.1 million of the $929 million needed to cover the damages from last October’s disastrous storm, leaving almost 99 percent of the state’s requested aid unanswered for.
Though the rain, wind and flooding are long gone, thousands of North Carolina residents are still struggling to recover after the massive storm claimed 28 lives and caused an estimated $4.8 billion in damages across the state. For Cooper, the Trump administration’s small gesture was nothing short of “an incredible failure.”
“Matthew was a historic storm and we are still working every day to help families return home and rebuild their communities,” Cooper said in a statement. “The North Carolinians affected by this storm cannot be ignored by the Trump Administration and Congressional leadership — and I will continue to work with our Congressional delegation to get North Carolina residents affected by the storm the help they deserve.”
In the wake of the hurricane, Congress granted the state almost $332 million for immediate disaster relief, in addition to the $96 million in assistance provided by FEMA, The Washington Post reported. The Department of Housing and Urban Development also gave North Carolina $199 million for long-term relief and recovery.
However, the funds still weren’t enough to cover the damages, prompting Cooper in April to request an additional $949 million in resources to address housing issues, cover repairs to public facilities, assist small businesses and provide health and mental health services to those affected by the storm, among other things, according to his statement.
On Wednesday, Cooper penned a strongly worded letter to President Donald Trump, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, describing their $6.1 million offer as grossly less than what was needed.
“I write to express shock and disappointment in the lack of federal funding for Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts in North Carolina and encourage you to prioritize North Carolina’s urgent request for help,” Cooper wrote. “North Carolina is steadily recovering, but too many people still can’t go back to their homes or return to offices, schools, farms or places of worship due to water damage, debris, mildew and road closures.”
Over 82,000 North Carolinians have registered with FEMA, according to the governor, many of them forced to live in hotels due to the lack of temporary and low-income housing.
Cooper went on to urge Trump and others to visit the storm-ravaged state to see the damage first hand and asked that Congress consider it’s economic and humanitarian needs in their upcoming budget.
“Disasters affect every state and North Carolinians have given their own money to help neighborhoods and those in other states in times of crisis,” he concluded.
“Help us rebuild our vibrant state economy and healthy population while we contribute to our nation’s strength.”