Gov. Pat McCrory will not press federal officials to reconsider a federal disaster declaration in northeastern North Carolina after last month’s tornadoes, according to a spokesman for the governor.
On Friday the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied McCrory’s request for the disaster declaration in Pasquotank, Perquimans, Chowan and Beaufort counties. Tornadoes tore through the counties on April 25, destroying or damaging hundreds of structures, causing dozens of injuries and one fatality.
McCrory called for the declaration citing the severity of the damage, the limited financial means of many victims, and the state having little to no disaster funding due to ice storms, floods and other disasters over the last 12 months.
McCrory spokesman Ryan Tronovitch said Monday the governor will focus now on other means of helping tornado victims — something he said appealing FEMA’s decision would delay.
“Governor McCrory’s primary focus is getting relief as fast as possible for families and small businesses,” Tronovitch said in an email. “In the interest of getting help to those impacted by the tornado outbreak last month as fast as possible, the governor will not appeal FEMA’s decision and instead has submitted a (Small Business Administration) disaster request.”
Tronovitch added, “An appeal to FEMA could mean at least another week or more of waiting — time that some (storm victims) don’t have nor can they afford. Instead, we expect a much more prompt response to the SBA disaster request resulting in less wait times for those in need. An SBA declaration may also pave the way for other state disaster relief programs.”
Friday U.S. House Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a Democrat whose 1st Congressional District includes several of the tornado-hit areas, said he disagreed with FEMA’s decision, but would work with FEMA and McCrory to assist victims.