Disaster declaration sought for Brunswick

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

N.C. Gov. Mike Easley has requested a federal disaster declaration for the three counties that suffered the most damage from Tropical Storm Hanna—Brunswick, Beaufort and Person counties.

Brunswick County Emergency Services Director Randy Thompson said the state met the threshold for damages, allowing Easley to request the federal disaster declaration.

Preliminary damage estimates to public infrastructure completed last Friday topped the $14 million mark.

“While we were very fortunate that Tropical Storm Hanna brought no more damage than it did, there are some areas of our state that were significantly affected and need help,” Easley said.

Thompson did not have the county’s final tally of damages, but said the final damages might still differ from the state and federal assessors’ preliminary damage estimates.

“Normally, the figures actually go up,” he said.

Brunswick County suffered the most damage from Hanna, with $9 million in damages assessed at Holden Beach.

But even as Thompson awaits a decision for a federal disaster declaration, state emergency officials were back in Brunswick County Tuesday and Wednesday assessing damages from last week’s unnamed coastal storm.

“I’m really looking at this as a positive way for us to utilize the system as it was designed to assist local governments and counties to recoup their losses,” Thompson said. “We need to take advantage of that so that we can rebound from this incident and go forth.”

While, if approved, the disaster declaration would include all affected municipalities, only damages from the town of Holden Beach were included in the request for a disaster declaration.

“I think this is a good thing that [Easley] is requesting for us to assist with the county and local governments. We put out quite a bit of money to make sure we were ready,” Thompson said.

If the disaster declaration is granted, towns can present preliminary damages to federal officials to attempt to recover money lost from Hanna, according to a press release from Easley’s office.

Easley declared a state of emergency in advance of the storm Sept. 4, which is required for the disaster declaration process.

For the past three weeks, preliminary damage assessment teams have worked with the counties to tally the damage, clean up and response costs to determine if the federal criteria have been met to ask for a declaration.

If the federal disaster declaration is approved, funds can be used to offset the cost of debris removal, road and bridge repair, beach re-nourishment and building repair for the three counties.

Preliminary damage assessment

•Debris removal, $482,813.

•Emergency protective measures, $1.2 million.

•Roads and bridges, $1.9 million.

•Buildings and equipment, $5,720.

•Utilities, $749,633.

•Parks and recreation facilities (includi