Gov. Roy Cooper sent a letter Friday to the US Small Business Administration requesting a disaster declaration for Carteret, Hyde, Dare and New Hanover counties.
In the letter, Cooper said initial disaster reports from a statewide damage assessment Sept. 26-27 indicated that at least 25 homes and businesses in each county received major damage from Hurricane Dorian.
Ocracoke, located in Hyde County, received the most damage from the storm, leaving about 400 residents homeless after 7-feet of storm surge inundated the island.
If the request is approved, individuals and businesses would be able to apply for low-interest disaster loans to help them rebuild after Hurricane Dorian.
“This request is the first step in establishing a state relief program after FEMA denied North Carolina’s request for Individual Assistance,” stated a news release from the Governor’s office.
FEMA approved public assistance for several Eastern NC counties earlier this month, but denied any individual assistance. This means governments and certain non-profits can request help for disaster relief efforts, but individuals and businesses cannot.
If the SBA agrees to the disaster declaration request, Cooper said he will sign an order for state-funded individual assistance, which would provide grants to supplement SBA loads. The state would then open disaster recovery centers to help affected individuals apply for financial assistance.