Storm Recovery Focus On New NC Legislative Panel

Federal and North Carolina emergency officials say they're trying to get the word out about government assistance available to people whose homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed by last month's tornadoes.

Michael Bolch with the Federal Emergency Management Agency told lawmakers about recovery efforts during Monday's first meeting of a legislative panel examining whether more needs to be done to help storm victims. The tornadoes killed 24 people and seriously injured more than 130.

Bolch said about $6.5 million in grants and low-interest loans have been offered so far to displaced residents and business owners.

Legislators from the hardest-hit areas say they're worried many people are turning away from assistance because they qualify for loans, not grants. Bolch said FEMA can't force anyone to receive assistance.

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