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Federal Disaster Declaration Granted For WNC

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Lilly Knoepp
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Blue Ridge Public Radio

President Joe Biden has formally given a federal disaster declaration to three counties in Western North Carolina that were devastated by the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred last month.  

The disaster declaration will allow federal aid to come to individuals and businesses in the three counties most impacted - Buncombe, Haywood, and Transylvania.  That aid can be grants for housing and repairs, or low-cost loans for uninsured property losses according to the White House.  Funding is also available for tribal and local governments and certain non-profits in seven counties – Avery, Buncombe, Haywood, Madison, Transylvania, Watauga, and Yancey. 

Flash flooding on August 17th caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred left six people dead in Haywood County, while causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages throughout the region.  The most heavily impacted area was in Canton and its immediate neighbors along the Pigeon River and its tributaries.  The federal disaster declaration was eagerly anticipated there, as town and county leaders said federal aid was desperately needed for cleanup.

Those eligible for aid can apply for it at DisasterAssistance.gov, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.  Those hotlines will operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. everday until further notice according to the White House.

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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