FEMA denies Pamlico’s request for temporary housing

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Officials appeal controversial decision

Temporary FEMA trailers like these may not be coming to Pamlico County unless people displaced by Hurricane Florence immediately call or e-mail the County Manager’s office.

BAYBORO – Tim Buck, manager of Pamlico County, told elected officials Monday night that the Federal Emergency Management Administration has refused his initial plea for some type of temporary housing in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

“FEMA says they are not getting the number of requests that they need,” explained Buck. “They told us that only 29 responses (for temporary housing) had come in, and some of their people checked a website – that I am not familiar with – and it came back reporting that there are 40 rental units available in our county. We think that is inaccurate information. We later checked the same source and could find only two.”

The only option available at this point, added Buck, is to file a formal appeal with documentation that a need for emergency housing exists. And, the best documentation is actual phone calls to the County Manager’s office at (252) 745-3133, or e-mails to: unmetneeds@pamlicocounty.org


“We need folks to let us know exactly what their needs are,” said Buck, “and we need it quick.”

Insiders familiar with FEMA’s response — when Hurricane Irene hit in late August of 2011 – recall that federal officials initially questioned any need for emergency housing back then. However, things quickly changed when media coverage of several ‘encampments’ revealed a desperate situation among families in the county’s hard-hit, remote northeast corner – an area known as Goose Creek Island, comprised of the sparsely populated Lowland and Hobucken communities.

Recalling how that situation unfolded seven years, County Commission Chairman Ed Riggs Jr. echoed Buck’s remarks, suggesting that federal emergency officials can be persuaded if they see documented numbers and statistics.

“What we need at this point is data,” urged a no-nonsense Riggs.