FEMA Freezes Hurricane Matthew Funds To Help Victims Of Harvey, Irma

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – FEMA has frozen Hurricane Matthew relief funding, which will impact the rebuilding of towns and counties across North Carolina.

Hurricane Matthew damaged hundreds of North Carolina roads, including Mirror Lake Drive in Fayetteville.

Larry and Tonya Krieger have lived in the area for decades, and now nearly a year with “road closed” signs in their neighborhood.

“(It’s a) major inconvenience because in this neighborhood there’s probably 400-500 houses,” Larry Krieger said.

The road is expected to be fixed by late next year with FEMA reimbursing the city $2.4 million to repair it.

Tanya Krieger told CBS North Carolina, “it takes time and there are areas from Matthew that are worse than that bridge washed out.”

It could take more time.

Officials announced FEMA is putting a hold on funding for many Hurricane Matthew related projects.

That money will be sent toward the immediate needs of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Despite the freeze, Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson said he’s optimistic after meeting with Gov. Roy Cooper and FEMA.

“There may be some delay just in the clarification point, but we feel pretty good that that money is still obligated for the city of Fayetteville and our residents, so we’re going to push forward,” Robertson said.

The Kriegers are more than understanding of the federal money being put on hold.

“I don’t really care about the road,” Tanya Krieger said. “I care about the people in Texas and Florida are taken care of. They are a priority.”

Larry Krieger added, “those funds are probably better spent elsewhere, because there’s people without electricity today. There’s people looking up out of their house with no roof. We don’t have anything like that.”

Robertson said he doesn’t believe the money the City has gotten already will be recalled either.

Gov. Cooper's Office released the following statement:

"Unfortunately, FEMA has suspended payments to North Carolina communities while it handles immediate needs from this year’s hurricanes. Everyone in North Carolina is praying for the victims of Harvey and Irma, but as we know from Matthew, storms like these take years to recover from. Governor Cooper is working with our state’s members of Congress and FEMA to get the money we were promised for Matthew recovery because we can’t walk away before the job is done."
 

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