These pictures show the extent of the flooding from Hurricane Florence in many communities, and the likely damage that will result. Although the rain and wind have mostly stopped, rivers and tributaries continue to rise and may not crest until tomorrow or Thursday. This map shows the communities still at high risk of new flooding. Meanwhile, an analysis from the Washington Post estimates only about 10% of homes in the counties impacted by Hurricane Florence have flood insurance. Although the federal government requires residents of certain areas to have such insurance, many are unable to afford it or think it is unnecessary. Flood insurance can cover up to $250,000 in damages, whereas FEMA assistance maxes out at $33,000. Low income families are least likely to be able to afford flood insurance or recovery and rebuilding costs.
Ten additional counties have been designated for Individual Assistance (IA) and Public Assistance (PA Categories A and B): Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Lenoir, Jones, Robeson, Sampson, and Wayne. More counties may be designated as assessments continue. FEMA explanations of IA and PA programs are at: HQ-18-127-FactSheet.
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety reports over 200,000 power outages across the state. Residents can call 211 for information on shelters, food assistance, and storm recovery help.
Small Business Administration
The 18 counties included in the disaster declaration are eligible for both Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans from SBA. Residents of an additional 13 counties (Chatham, Greene, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Lee, Martin, Moore, Pitt, Scotland, Wake, Washington, and Wilson) are eligible for Economic Injury Loans only. Physical Injury loans are for repairing damaged or destroyed property (real estate, equipment, inventory, etc.), and Economic Injury loans are to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.
SBA has opened a Business Recovery Center in Greenville, North Carolina. SBA representatives at the center can help provide information about disaster loans or complete applications.
Flooding in North Carolina has also limited potential emergency shelter options for people experiencing homelessness prior to the Hurricane Florence, and homeless shelters are becoming more crowded as a result. Some of that influx is from farmworkers in the area, many of whom are undocumented. Because the media and government issued very few evacuation and other disaster warnings in Spanish, many Spanish-speaking farmworkers were unprepared for the storm. The North Carolina Farmworker Health Program reports at least 150,000 farmworkers at risk of displacement.
Residents of the Trent Court public housing development in New Bern, NC had their homes badly damaged by Hurricane Florence, with some of the 218 units being flooded with eight feet of water. Prior to the storm, the city had approved a plan to tear down the development, which already had several safety issues, relocate its residents and rebuild only 80 affordable homes in its place.
Small Business Administration
Residents in Dillon, Horry, and Marlboro counties are eligible for Economic Injury Loans through SBA.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
The Federal Housing Administration issued a reminder of its guidance for originating and/or servicing FHA-insured mortgages in presidentially-declared major disaster areas. This guidance includes a 90-day foreclosure moratorium.
Fannie Mae has issued guidance for presidentially-declared major disaster areas impacted by Hurricane Florence. Under this guidance, homeowners are eligible to stop making mortgage payments for up to 12 months, servicers can suspend or reduce a homeowner’s mortgage payments for up to 90 days, and foreclosure and other legal proceedings must be suspended.