Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — President Biden and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have approved Gov. Roy Cooper’s request for a major federal disaster declaration to help communities recover from flooding damage caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Eta in November.

“While no amount of money can bring back the 12 lives lost in this disaster, this federal declaration provides needed funding to help these communities recover and rebuild,” Cooper said.

The declaration provides reimbursement through FEMA’s Public Assistance program to local and state governments for repairing public infrastructure and recouping emergency response costs in Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Beaufort, Burke, Caldwell, Davidson, Davie, Duplin, Edgecombe, Hertford, Iredell, Robeson, Rowan, Sampson, Stokes, Wilkes, Wilson and Yadkin counties.

The storm caused more than $20.4 million in flood damages. Rainfall amounts from 4 to 9 inches fell in many areas and more than 9 inches of rain was recorded in Rocky Mount and Harrisburg.

Flooding claimed five lives at a campground in Hiddenite and another life in Wake County, where a child drowned in a creek. The State Highway Patrol reported another six fatalities in weather-related collisions in Iredell, Alexander, Rockingham and Person counties.

The N.C. Department of Transportation reported more than 430 state-maintained roads, including a few interstates, were closed temporarily and numerous bridges were damaged by floodwaters.

“Local and state emergency managers and transportation officials have worked hard to complete thorough damage assessments after these floods in order to make this federal assistance possible,” said Mike Sprayberry, director of N.C. Emergency Management.

The declaration also provides Hazard Mitigation funding statewide to help with reducing risk and mitigating damage from future storms.

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