Cooper- Hurricane Dorian

Gov. Roy Cooper urges North Carolinians to take evacuation orders and news from local officials seriously at a press briefing on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is putting pressure on the federal government to release disaster aid. 

Cooper is leading a coalition of bipartisan governors demanding reform of federal disaster recovery programs. The group sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday.

“We need Congress to make important changes to federal disaster recovery programs,” Cooper said. “When a disaster strikes, it doesn’t discriminate between Democrats or Republicans and we need continued bipartisan cooperation to make these common sense recovery changes."

Cooper has also called on U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr to put pressure on the Trump administration for more assistance following the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

Cooper requested his second round of aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Sept. 21, but his request was denied.

“I implore you to use your influence to encourage the president to grant Individual Assistance to Carteret, Dare, Hyde and New Hanover counties, as I requested on September 21,” Cooper wrote in a letter to the senators Tuesday.

Both senators represent North Carolina at the U.S. Capitol.

Trump approved funding for public assistance for 14 counties. Cooper is now asking for individual assistance for four other counties and public assistance for Jones County.

Hurricane Dorian made landfall in eastern North Carolina on Sept. 5 and 6, bringing with it tornadoes, storm surges, flooding and power outages. Cooper declared a State of Emergency in the state and ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal areas. 

Several homes were destroyed or damaged, leaving many people displaced and in need.

Damage assessment reports say that about 2,000 homes in Carteret, Dare, Hyde and New Hanover counties were impacted by the storm.

“Individual Assistance would provide federal dollars to individuals to cover Temporary Housing Assistance, lodging expense reimbursements, home repairs, home replacements, housing construction, and funds related to other disaster caused losses and damage,” Copper wrote.

Neither Tillis or Burr’s office responded to requests for comment.

In addition to seeking federal assistance, the state also has provided aid to its residents.

Emergency response teams have provided food, water, supplies and medical assistance. The National Guard has cleared roads and cleaned up marine areas, according to reports.

North Carolina has experienced a string of natural disasters. The state is still recovering from Hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

Hurricane Matthew ravished North Carolina in October 2016. The state has spent more than $1.14 billion to date to help with Hurricane Matthew's recovery efforts, according to Cooper’s office. 

North Carolina has spent $1.58 billion to date on recovery from Hurricane Florence, which made landfall in September 2018.

The state continues to await $168 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant slated to be released this year.  A similar grant for Hurricane Florence is still pending.

Cooper was joined by governors from Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.

“It is our responsibility to make these funds available to survivors, and to ensure the public’s understanding of the disaster recovery system that they, unfortunately, find themselves using time and time again,” Cooper said.

Staff Reporter

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for three years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.