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FEMA denies Dorian individual assistance in Dare, Hyde Counties

FEMA has denied individual assistance for residents in four North Carolina counties, including Dare and Hyde Counties.

RALEIGH, N.C. — RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina's governor says the federal government has denied individual assistance for residents in four counties hit by Hurricane Dorian.

Gov. Roy Cooper had sought federal help for households in Carteret, Dare, Hyde, and New Hanover counties. He said the assistance would have included funds for temporary housing, repairs and storm damage.

But his office released a letter from FEMA dated Tuesday denying the individual assistance request. The letter signed by FEMA Associate Administrator Jeff Byard said that joint federal and local assessments determined the impact to households didn't warrant the individual assistance. The denial can be appealed.

The letter notes that other federal funds for public assistance and hazard mitigation were approved.

Cooper's office issued a statement saying the decision is disappointing for families who still need help.

In August the Department of Homeland security announced it would transfer $155 million dollars from FEMA to fund border programs.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the move appalling.

"To do so on the eve of hurricane season is stunningly reckless,” said Pelosi.

On the other side of the aisle, Republican subcommittee chair, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said in a report that the committee on appropriations, "Strongly discourages transfer or reprogramming requests to cover ICE's excesses."

Acting Homeland Security Director Kevin McAleenan said the transfer would have no impact on storm recovery.

"Any potential transfers will not impact our ability to respond to this storm or any other storms in the rest of the hurricane season,” said McAleenan. 

Ocracoke residents, like Kelley Shinn, said that they don’t believe that’s true.

“FEMA money was sent to the southern border to help detain immigrants, now that money for people that are suffering is down there, so the morals are out of this world,” said Shinn. 

Shinn said the basic assistance granted isn't enough. 

"They granted FEMA for public assistance with infrastructure which means they'll re-build the roads, the ferry docks, things like that. But it doesn't do anything for individuals and families to help rebuild,” said Shinn. 

Residents in Ocracoke, like Jason Wells, voiced their concerns about the impact the lack of funding will have on the economy.

"We're people too and just because we're a small town doesn't mean we don't need help. Eighty-eight out of the 105 businesses on Ocracoke were flooded, that's 90%,” said Wells. 

Beyond the economy, islanders like Stephanie O'Neal are worried about basic shelter.

"There are over 400 displaced residents, me being one of them, and many homes are having to be torn down and can't be fixed and so we're just asking for FEMA to step in,” said O'Neal.

13News Now contributed to this report.


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