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Cooper Says Federal Disaster Aid Request Is Coming Soon For WNC

Matt Bush
Blue Ridge Public Radio
The flood line can be seen on this building in Candler

A request for a federal disaster declaration for areas of Western North Carolina devastated by last week’s flood will be coming soon according to Governor Roy Cooper, who toured affected areas again on Wednesday.  

Touring damaged businesses in Candler, Cooper said his administration is working as fast as it can to get the request ready to send to the federal government.  But he added being thorough takes precedent over speed right now.  ‘We do know getting these damage assessments right, and then submitting them to the federal government, makes it much easier to get all of the funding you’re entitled to,”  Cooper said to reporters.  The Governor didn’t offer a timeline for when the request would be sent.

Governor Roy Cooper (left) talks with the owners of Mountain Power Performance, including Alexis Giese (light blue mask)

The business Cooper toured in Candler – Mountain Power Performance – lost hundreds of thousands of dollars of tools and other equipment used to work on diesel engines and trucks according to owner Alexis Giese.  “What can’t be wiped down of mud and have protectant put on it…electronics…it’s all gone," said Giese.  "Tens of thousands of dollars in computer equipment, diagnostic equipment, battery tools.  There’s no salvaging it.  It’s gone.”

Credit Matt Bush
On August 25th Pole Creek has a depth of about one foot.  On August 17th, it flooded its banks leaving chest deep water in Mountain Power Performance (which is on the right)

Pole Creek on Wednesday morning had a depth of around a foot where it runs behind Giese’s business.  But last week it flooded its banks leaving Giese in chest deep water in his office.  He and his coworkers had to be rescued from the roof of their building.

Credit Matt Bush
Alexis Giese and his co-workers had to be rescued off their roof on August 17th from flood waters

The Governor left Candler to tour the Canton area on Wednesday for a second time since the floods.  Damages were even heavier there, and all five deaths from the flooding occurred in Canton and Cruso areas.  

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.
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