The VICE Guide to Right Now

Government Denies Hurricane Aid During Hurricane Preparedness Week

North Carolina received only $6 million after asking for $929 million.

by Harry Cheadle
May 11 2017, 8:51pm

Photo of North Carolina hurricane flooding by Sean Rayford/Getty Images

This week, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper wrote an angry letter to Donald Trump and congressional leaders protesting the decision to deny the state nearly all of a recent aid request it had made to help recover from 2016's Hurricane Matthew.

As a local ABC affiliate reported Thursday, the federal government is giving the state only $6.1 million after being asked for $929 million by a bipartisan group of North Carolina politicians. Most of that money was earmarked for repairing and rebuilding housing damaged or destroyed by flooding.

The federal government has provided aid to North Carolinians hurt by Matthew in the past—FEMA has given tens of millions to individuals who applied for help, and state politicians have secured more than $300 million in funds. But in his letter Cooper said that that was not enough. "Too many people still can't go back to their homes or return to offices, schools, farms or places of worship due to water damage, debris, mildew and road closures. More than 82,000 households have registered with FEMA for help. Families displaced by the storm remain in hotels, due in part to a lack of rental and low-income housing."

Here's how WRAL, a local outlet, described the damage done to North Carolina by the hurricane, which hit in October and was declared a disaster by the federal government:

At least 26 North Carolinians lost their lives. About 1 million homes were without power, some for days. Hundreds of roads were closed, including I-95 and I-40, and thousands of people were forced to leave their homes, some plucked from rooftops by the Coast Guard.

It wasn't immediately clear why the federal government had denied Cooper's request for more funds, but there's a bitter irony here given that on Friday, President Donald Trump officially declared this week National Hurricane Preparedness Week.

This isn't the first time Trump's government has denied an aid request. In March, FEMA turned down an ask from Idaho governor Butch Otter for assistance rebuilding infrastructure after a series of winter storms. Not that controversies over disasters are limited to the Trump era—Michigan governor Rick Snyder has been trying to get the Flint water crisis declared a disaster since Barack Obama was in office.

Follow Harry Cheadle on Twitter.