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Bladen County is among 31 North Carolina counties approved for expedited federal disaster assistance to help with recovery from flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew, Gov. Pat McCrory announced Monday afternoon. Bladen also is among 10 counties approved for individual assistance to help homeowners and renters repair or replace damaged homes.

“A lot of people are hurting right now in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew and the devastation is beyond words,” McCrory said. “This expedited declaration will help provide much needed and immediate federal assistance to communities impacted by Hurricane Matthew. I want to thank our federal partners for approving this declaration quickly and for their continued assistance.”

The federal assistance is designed to help local and state governments augment the costs of responding to the disaster and also help pay to clear and remove storm debris. Preliminary damage assessments are ongoing to help gather the necessary documentation to apply for additional federal assistance for other counties and to reimburse the cost of damaged infrastructure.

In addition, every county will be eligible for funding to help mitigate future storm damage.

Local, state and federal emergency management teams will conduct damage assessments throughout the week while rescue crews continue to search for survivors, and utility crews work to restore power, clear debris and open roadways.

Other counties approved for expedited assistance are Beaufort, Bertie, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Greene, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Lenoir, Nash, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Pitt, Robeson, Tyrrell, Washington, and Wayne.

Other counties approved for individual assistance to help homeowners and renters repair or replace damaged homes are Beaufort, Columbus, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Hoke, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt, and Robeson.