Hurricane Florence inflicted one of the hardest hurricane punches our state has ever seen. My wife Renee and I are continuing to pray for our state and the safety of you and your family. Like you, we are heartbroken by the damage, destruction and loss of life. I’ve traveled to every county in our district and the devastation from the catastrophic rainfall and flooding, damaging winds and devastating storm surge is truly unimaginable.
I am continuing to monitor the damage this storm has left and working closely with federal partners and state and local leaders to ensure we have the necessary resources. Before the storm, I joined my North Carolina colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter to President Donald Trump requesting immediate consideration and approval of an Emergency Declaration. This declaration provided extra resources and helped give further assistance to several counties in our district.
I have seen the best of our neighbors these past several days. I saw the best of us in workers and volunteers at every local Emergency Operations Center; in the tired faces of law enforcement officers and first responders; in neighbors helping families stranded in shelters and volunteers working to deliver relief; in soldiers who are deployed to help with recovery; in linemen and utility crews who are working around the clock to rebuild; in soldiers at Fort Bragg and workers at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) staging area on base; and in the U.S. Coast Guard who I joined to help a crew of doctors and nurses get to where they were most needed. It is truly incredible.
It reminds me of something someone told me last week, “There’s one force stronger than Mother Nature, and that’s human nature.” Now that the brunt of the storm is behind us, we are focused on assessing the damage, helping our neighbors and working together to rebuild our community. Last week, I spoke with congressional leadership about getting Florence disaster relief funding for the Carolinas as soon as possible. I told them my priorities include making sure we have enough affordable housing, making sure we have adequate infrastructure funding and making sure farmers who lost their crops that were ready to harvest have a safety net.
As we begin the long road to recovery, it is important for you to continue to stay informed and to heed the directions of local officials. I want to share important contact information and resources for those impacted by this natural disaster. For the latest information on shelters, food, water and other resources, visit www.ncdps.gov/florence or call 2-1-1.
For real-time road closures and traffic condition in your area, visit ReadyNC.org or call 5-1-1. A major disaster declaration has already been given to several counties affected by Hurricane Florence, including Cumberland County in our district. Hoke, Montgomery, and Moore counties are in the process of being evaluated, which is a key step towards being declared. For folks in these counties who had damage from the storm, you should go ahead and apply for FEMA assistance online at www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). In addition, several counties will likely be eligible for Small Business Administration (SBA) assistance and small businesses in these areas wishing to apply may visit www.disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ or call 1-800-659-2955. Farmers in North Carolina who need assistance can call the Agriculture Disaster Hotline at 1-866-645-9403 and are encouraged to report damages to their county USDA FSA office as soon as possible.
As always, if you need help working with a federal agency or finding the right resources, you can call my Cabarrus County office at 704-786-1612, my Cumberland County office at 910-997-2070, my Moore County office at 910-246-5374, my Washington, DC office at 202-225-3715 or contact me online at http://hudson.house.gov. Rest assured, we are all in this together and I will continue to work to ensure our state has the resources and assistance to rebuild.