Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper has signed a state disaster declaration for Alexander County and the surrounding counties of Caldwell, Catawba, Iredell, and Wilkes, after heavy rains associated with the remains of Tropical Storm Eta caused deadly floods.

“The tragic consequences of this storm left loved ones grieving, families without homes, and damaged communities,” Cooper said. “While this declaration can’t bring back those lives, it is a way to help those communities begin to recover and move forward.”

Tropical moisture from Eta caused widespread flooding across the state on November 12, which required evacuations and water rescues, and resulted in 12 deaths, including six at the Hiddenite Family Campground in Alexander County. The storm also damaged and washed out roads and caused widespread power outages.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) granted Governor Cooper’s request for a disaster declaration for the event, making SBA low-interest disaster loans available to people and businesses recovering from the storm.

People can apply online for SBA Disaster Loans using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at disasterloanassistance.sba.gov. Virtual customer support representatives will be available to assist applicants with completing the online application.

SBA Disaster Loans provide up to $200,000 to homeowners and up to $2 million to businesses to repair and/or replace damaged property. Homeowners and renters would also be eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property.

For those who do not qualify for SBA loans, or have unmet needs after SBA assistance, state funded individual assistance grants are available. Applications for state assistance will be taken via telephone at 919-825-2378 beginning Wednesday, December 16. Residents should apply for both forms of assistance.

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