Emergency Management officials say Florence damage costs could be over $1 billion

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Emergency Management Executive Director Mike Sprayberry told ABC11 the state’s top priority continues to be finding housing for those affected by Hurricane Florence.

Sprayberry said between 700-800 people across the state are still living in shelters and FEMA has inspected 70,000 homes with more to go.

A couple of programs that aid in getting disaster survivors placed in more transitional living quarters have been made available.

“Travel trailers were not on the table for temporary housing and we could not get the STEP program authorized for North Carolina,” Sprayberry said. “So I think we’re in a better position.”

Sprayberry spoke to ABC11 inside the situation room at the Emergency Operations Center.

It was in this room Governor Roy Cooper rallied state workers to think of hurricane victims as they did their job in helping keep North Carolinians safe and responding quickly to the relief effort.

“That’s what the governor wants,” Sprayberry chimed in. “That’s what he told me. He wants the recovery just to be as aggressive and strong and quick as the response was. And that’s where we’re working for.”

According to Sprayberry, $58 million dollars in aid has been awarded to disaster survivors and $45 million to small businesses.

The total amount of damage from Florence is still being calculated.

The price tag, however, will be high. “It’ll be over a billion (dollars),” Sprayberry said. “I’m pretty sure about that.”

At one point, over 1,200 primary and secondary roads were closed. That number now down to between 100-200 according to Sprayberry.

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