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State recovery office publishes guide to help after disasters

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RALEIGH — The state’s recovery office has published a guide to help communities become stronger and better equipped to withstand the impacts of future natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods and wildfires, as well as the ongoing effects of climate change.

“Natural Hazards Resilience: A Quick Start Guide for North Carolina Communities” is first part of an ongoing effort by the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency’s team of experts to define what it means to plan for and build resilience in communities while integrating those measures into the work local governments do every day.

“While we work to defeat COVID-19, we must also remain vigilant in planning and preparing for future natural disasters,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “This guide is a valuable tool that will help local governments build strong plans to increase resilience against future storms.”

The newly released guide provides information for local governments on how to begin planning for natural disasters and changing conditions, including climate change, by incorporating the concepts of resilience into the work they already do. On a daily basis, local governments decide what projects to build, what plans to prioritize and how to spend funding. Incorporating resilience-building principles into these activities will help North Carolina better prepare for hurricanes and other disasters, officials said. The guide is available for review and download on the NCORR’s ReBuild NC website, www.rebuild.nc.gov.

“North Carolina communities want to become more resilient, but many aren’t sure how to begin,” said NCORR Chief Resilience Officer Jessica Whitehead. “This guide will help communities get started and set them up for future success.”

Cooper established the NCORR in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence to streamline disaster recovery programs statewide and help communities rebuild smarter and stronger. In addition to its work building resilience, the office administers programs that support homeowner recovery, affordable housing, mitigation, buyout and local government grants and loans.

To date, North Carolina has spent more than $3.5 billion in state and federal funding to help storm survivors recover from hurricanes Matthew and Florence.