130 flood-prone NC homes set for demolition under FEMA program

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. (WNCN) — Several properties prone to flooding across the state are going to be demolished as part of a FEMA program to cut down future flood damage costs. 

Joe Martin’s been through Hurricanes Matthew and Florence at his Cumberland County home. 

“Matthew was easy. Florence was the one that really got us,” said Martin.

He said the three to four days of constant rain ruined nearly all his belongings.

“Not only in the house, but in my shed behind the house I’ve lost $10,000 worth of tools.”

The water rose to 13 inches inside and above his mailbox outside. 

“It’s terrible. You do not know how powerful water is,” Martin said.

What’s been even worse is the aftermath, he said.

“We got no help. You’re not qualified.”

 Martin and his wife haven’t been able to live in their home since. 
He said it’s been broken into twice. 

Despite having flood insurance, Martin said he’s been forced to go into his savings. They’re staying at his son-in-law’s house while they hope to get help.

“What am I hoping for? To get my house rebuilt. That’s what I’m hoping for.”

But it doesn’t appear that’s going to happen. 

His property is one of 130 chosen across the state to be demolished by the state. 

It’s a $19 million FEMA project to eliminate flood risks in areas that get repetitively damaged. 

“I don’t really even want the buyout program because they’re not going to give me what it’s worth,” Martin said.

He said no one’s been able to tell him and when and how the program will work either. 

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, “FEMA reimburses 75 percent of eligible costs and the remaining 25 percent is covered by the state. FEMA’s share for these projects is more than $14.1 million and the state’s share is approximately $4.7 million. The federal share is paid directly to the state to disburse to local governments.”

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper recently spoke about the program.

“We need to go faster. Clearly getting these local governments reimbursed, getting these state agencies reimbursed has to continue to move and we’re going to push to do that,” Cooper said.

In central North Carolina, there’s one other property in Cumberland County approved for the FEMA program, with eight in Sampson County and 13 in Moore County.

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