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Tornadoes Place Extra Demand on Community Action Agencies in NC

April 29, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, N. C. – Parts of North Carolina are picking up from yet another round of storms that swept across the state on Thursday, with 59 counties under severe weather alerts. In addition, many areas are still feeling the impact from the tornadoes and storms that killed two dozen people and caused millions of dollars in damage on April 16.

Community Action Agencies are feeling the extra demand from people who don't know where else to turn, according to Linda Graham, who directs the Section 8 housing program for the Eastern Carolina Human Services Agency, Jacksonville.

"These people have lost everything that they had. We had several families that came in that were in need of clothing and household items; everything had been lost."

Community Action Agencies are equipped with pantries of food and household items to help storm victims, says Graham. Many also have lists of available rental properties for people displaced by storms.

Not all insurance companies are covering claims from the April 16 storms. The state has a Disaster Mediation Program available to residents of some counties that will help homeowners resolve disputes with insurers. Graham explains these storms will have a long-term impact.

"This is going to go on for an extended period of time. We're going to be looking at an impact for at least the next year and a half, because you're talking about rebuilding people's homes and their lives."

The Apr. 16 storm caused damage in 16 states, but the Tarheel State saw the most damage. The North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance Company has already received 5,000 home and auto damage claims with estimated losses totaling $35 million.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC