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Hurricane Matthew damage forgotten in Washington as Harvey, Irma take their toll

In her column today, Susan Ladd of the News & Record in Greensboro takes a look at the poor federal response to Hurricane Matthew’s impact on North Carolina even as Texas struggles to recover from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma bears down on the East Coast.

From the column [1]:

On Saturday, President Donald Trump promised the people of Texas that getting relief funds “hopefully” would be a quick process and tweeted, “We are with you today, we are with you tomorrow, and we will be with you EVERY SINGLE DAY AFTER, to restore, recover, and REBUILD!”

Yeah. About that.

Nearly a year after Hurricane Matthew, which caused rivers in North Carolina to rise even higher than Hurricane Floyd (dubbed the “Flood of the Century” in 1999), the state has been shortchanged and seemingly forgotten.

Matthew killed 26 North Carolinians and damaged 100,000 homes, businesses and government buildings. Property damage [2] alone was estimated at $1.5 billion. The hurricane also destroyed a dam and damaged more than 600 roads, temporarily closing our major East Coast arteries of I-95 and I-40.

Congress initially appropriated $330 million to the state for disaster recovery, and HUD provided another $198.5 million in December. Needs still unmet include property buyouts, agricultural and small-business losses, damage to public infrastructure and facilities, and repairs to homes, health care facilities, child-care centers and social services agencies.

Gov. Roy Cooper worked with Sen. Thom Tillis (R) and House members from both parties to submit an additional request for aid in April. Of that $929 million request, the Trump administration approved [3] $6.1 million, about 1 percent.

As these very real and necessary repairs went unfunded, Trump expressed his willingness to shut down [4] the government if Congress fails to fund his border wall — a project of pure political vanity.

Even as Hurricane Irma threatens, some North Carolinians are still living in hotels and other temporary housing as a result of Matthew.

 

Read the whole thing. [1]