Governor Roy Cooper addresses Ocracoke residents:
Governor Roy Cooper and half of his cabinet visited Ocracoke Island yesterday to address the residents in regards to hurricane recovery efforts.
This is Governor Cooper’s second visit to the island since Dorian hit.
Cooper made it known that the state is behind Ocracoke during this trying time.
“I want to say to all of the people here in Ocracoke that all of NC is thinking about you, praying for you and I know that I’ve had dozens and dozens of conversations with people who want to help your plight,” said Cooper.
He spoke about the strength of the community on the island and how Ocracoke stands out as a special place close to many people’s hearts.
“People remember when they visited here as a child or got an opportunity to come and stay for a night or two. It’s the kind of place that always stays with you whenever you leave.”Governor Roy Cooper
No deaths occurred from the storm.
“I remember being out here and we were bringing out search and rescue team but, just to tell you how close everybody on this island is, everybody knew that everyone was present and accounted for,” said Cooper.
Waiting for federal assistance:
Two requests have been made to the federal government. The first for public assistance and the second for private assistance.
“Before you make them, you have to do your damage assessments and you have to make sure you get everything ready to go to present it up there,” said Governor Cooper.
The request for public assistance was made on September 13th and the request for private assistance was made “this past week” according to the Governor.
Both requests are being reviewed by FEMA and if approved, they must be sent to the White House to be signed by President Trump.
Temporary recovery efforts:
In the meantime, temporary recovery efforts such as feeding stations and medical services are set up on Ocracoke.
“We’ve also done a number of things to help coordinate work here for medical assistance, for supplies, for volunteers. When you’re on an island like this making sure all of this is coordinated through air and ferry is something I know can be tedious,” said Governor Cooper.
The Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department is housing supplies for residents to come and take as needed.
Things like food, toiletries, baby supplies, pet food, water bottles, and some cleaning supplies are available.
State response updates:
Cooper brought several of his cabinet members to Ocracoke yesterday:
- Eric Hooks – NC Department of Public Safety
- General Todd Hunt – NC National Guard
- Michael Sprayberry – NC Department of Emergency Management
- Bobby Lewis – NC Department of Transportation
- Michael Regan – NC Department of Environmental Quality
- Mandy Cohen – Department of Health and Human Services
- Ken Eudy – Senior Adviser
FEMA federal coordinator, Libby Turner, was also on-site.
Each had the opportunity to speak about their own department’s role in recovery efforts.
Michael Spayberry discussed providing an incident management team on the island in addition to volunteer efforts. Volunteers are working to provide kitchens, showers, laundry services and more.
Dr. Mandy Cohen said the temporary medical treatment is available and part of the mobile hospital unit is being deployed until the medical center is back up and running. According to Cohen, about 160 patients have received medical treatment in the past several days. Additionally, she addressed the issue of childcare centers being shut down.
“We are working with folks to make sure they can find new sites as well as having the funding they need to make sure our kids are well cared for while we are recovering here,” said Cohen.
Bobby Lewis of the NCDOT turned the talk to NC-12.
“Certainly NCDOT knows that NC-12 is a lifeline to Ocracoke Island,” said Lewis.
“I want you to know that today we did receive bids to repair the dunes along NC-12 and we should have that awarded by this afternoon.”Bobby Lewis, 9/24/19
According to Lewis, the contract refers to two sections that are 500 feet of dune loss. 15-foot sandbags will be put in stacked three bags high and sand on top of the dunes will be replenished as well.
Michael Regan spoke about emergency permits. He said they are being granted in an effort to rebuild as quickly as possible. The department of Environmental Equality has been working closely with the NCDOT to ensure expedited permit processing in order to fix the roads.
Near the end of the address, County Commissioner Tom Pahl presented Governor Cooper with an Ocracoke Strong T-shirt to remind them that the community is strong and resilient.
Governor Cooper assured residents that they are not alone and he and his team will continue to work with and for residents in the coming weeks and months to restore Ocracoke.
“We know that recovery is a long term thing,” said Cooper. “So, know that us being here right now doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to be continuing to work in the weeks and months that are ahead.”