President Barack Obama is pledging to provide federal aid after a major natural disaster – Hurricane Matthew has damaged several states. Matthew, a Category 5 hurricane, blew through the Caribbean leaving hundreds dead mainly in Haiti.
Hurricane Matthew destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in Jamaica, Cuba, the Bahamas, and eventually moved to Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina where significant flooding occurred.
The latest reports showed that the hurricane took the lives of 21 people in the United States. It has been confirmed that at least six people died in Florida, including two women who were attempting to go through the storm.
In the state of Georgia, four residents have perished, three in South Carolina, and eight in North Carolina. Moreover, there are several people reported missing in North Carolina.
Hurricane Matthew left over several million people without power. It is estimated that those southern states have a combined loss of $6 billion. Wasting no time, Obama has declared that disaster exists in Florida and Georgia because of Hurricane Matthew.
The disaster declarations make it possible for those states to receive federal aid and local officials will start focusing on the recovery. The disaster aid will be distributed to local governments and private non-profit organizations for things like debris removal and “emergency protective measures” in the following Florida counties: Brevard, Duval, Flagler, Indian River, Nassau, St. Johns, St. Lucie, and Volusia. The same goes for the following Georgia counties: Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty and McIntosh. They will all benefit from the funding.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said in a statement that they have workers visiting the states and talking to local officials to know, which other counties qualify for additional aid. FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate has named Terry Quarles as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the states hit by the natural disaster. The disaster declarations signed by Mr. Obama do not provide money for roads and buildings to be repaired.
The administration has not yet approved a request for funding for individual assistance. Florida’s Governor Rick Scott said he has spoken on numerous occasions with Obama and is hoping that he will “fulfill the state’s request for the new declaration.” Scott said:
“While we are blessed that Hurricane Matthew did not make landfall in Florida, there has been significant damage all across Florida’s east coast. I am going to continue to fight for every available resource from the federal government so our families and businesses can rebuild and get back to normal. We are going to continue to submit requests to the federal government until they fulfill our entire disaster declaration.”
Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Eric Schultz said:
“The president is committed to providing federal support to help these states respond to the storm’s impact. The president has already declared emergencies in each of these four states and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal, and local response efforts.”
Obama has also spoken to governors in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina for updates and to know how to deal with the destruction left by Hurricane Matthew.