RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- President Obama has signed a disaster declaration for North Carolina as the state recovers from Hurricane Irene.
The White House said Wednesday the order covers seven counties affected when Hurricane Irene hit the state last week.
The order makes federal fund available to help with the recovery in Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Dare, Hyde, Pamlico and Tyrrell counties.
The declaration authorizes grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-coast loans to cover uninsured property loss and other programs to help people and businesses affected by the storm.
Gov. Beverly Perdue had submitted the request for the declaration on Monday.
Michael E. Bolch has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Bolch said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed.
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the those counties can begin applying for assistance today by registering on the FEMA Website, by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
Gov. Beverly Perdue says other counties will added to those eligible for federal disaster aid after Hurricane Irene, saying Wednesday's declaration is "just the beginning."
A Red Cross official has told Perdue as many as 3,500 homes in North Carolina may have been destroyed or severely damaged. Gary Haynes with the Red Cross in North Carolina says that's a preliminary figure based in part on field reports from volunteers.
Perdue says getting temporary housing to devastated communities is one of her top a priorities.
FEMA says residents need to report damage to their local office of emergency management. Several EOC numbers are listed below:
Norfolk Emergency Management
www.norfolk.gov - 3661 East Virginia Beach Boulevard, Norfolk - 757-441-5600
www.hampton.gov - 40 Lincoln Street, Hampton - 757-727-6414
757-382-2489 or 382-6464
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)