“There was a severe shortage of quality, affordable housing in disaster-declared counties prior to both Hurricanes Matthew and Florence, and these disasters have only made that need more acute,” Lewis said. “As we learned after Hurricane Matthew, recovery is a long process, so starting quickly is crucial.”
Recovery has reinforced concerns about climate change and global warming.
Elon University conducted a survey on how Hurricane Florence impacted North Carolina voters. The survey included a poll measuring the degree of concern about climate change according to political party.
The results showed 68 percent of Republicans, 94 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of unaffiliated voters that responded think it’s either very likely or somewhat likely that climate change will negatively impact coastal communities in North Carolina within the next 50 years.
This could explain the emphasis the governor is putting on planning for North Carolina’s future, like the grants to help water systems withstand future storms.
Will McDow, the director of Resilient Landscapes of the Environmental Defense Fund, said in a statement that Cooper responded quickly and with the appropriate level of concern and action, but there are still a lot of details that need to be sorted out.
“The governor’s recommendation to increase funding for buyouts of houses and farms in flood-prone areas is a good start for helping North Carolina communities recover,” McDow said. “But policymakers must consider the full suite of potential solutions, including much-needed investments in natural infrastructure, and pursue the most cost-effective options that can be deployed rapidly to reduce risks for communities in the near and long-term.”
Elise Clouser, a UNC graduate from Beaufort, North Carolina, feels Cooper’s recommended budget is necessary, especially because FEMA is stretched thin after Hurricane Michael.
“A lot of people in my county, even people with major damage, are being denied for help from FEMA,” Clouser said. “I’m not sure about what reforms we need, but right now a huge issue in my area is lack of housing. Lots of people have had to leave their apartments and homes because they aren’t safe to live in, but there’s not really anywhere for them to go, so I’d like to see more help to find places for those people, even if it’s temporary housing like RVs.”
Cooper assured North Carolina residents that he understands the extent of the damage done by the hurricane and said he has spent the last month coming into contact with volunteer organizations and survivors.
“Hurricane Florence devastated our state and left families, businesses and farmers reeling from the impact,” Cooper said. “I know that we will come out better from this tragedy if we can work together.”