Olsen: Assistance available to help relieve the stress

Although the hurricane is over, there seems to be stress in the air.

Everywhere I go people are stressed. There is so much to do if you, friends or family have had damage.

There are many fantastic resources out there if you do need help. I have compiled some information for those of you who have experienced damages to homes and yards due to Hurricane Florence.

The most important step is to assess damage for insurance purposes. Please put the safety of yourself and your loved ones first! For more information on flood damage, home restoration and how to stay safe, please visit N.C. State Extension’s N.C. Disaster Information Center online at ncdisaster.ces.ncsu.edu.

The center has many recovery fact sheets that you can choose to read. You are sure to find at least one that will answer your questions. Whether you have damage inside your home or outside in the yard or on the farm, first take pictures and document the damage. Then clean up. The documentation is crucial for insurance purposes and all other steps.

• The NCDA and CS has installed a phone hotline and provides frequent updates on their homepage. If you have questions about procedures, please call the hotline at 866-645-9403 and go online to ncagr.gov/disaster. The N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services has activated its hotline to connect farmers with resources that can assist with agricultural emergencies. The toll free number is 866-645-9403. An operator will be available on the hotline between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Please call this number if you need assistance on your farm.

• Farm Aid Disaster Assistance information is available online at farmaid.org and prep4agthreats.org.

• FEMA’s website is fema.gov.

• USDA Disaster Help and WHIT: Immediate Assistance program information is available online at fsa.usda.gov.

I hope these websites will answer the majority of your questions. The Extension office in Bladen County will continue to have information available. Please feel free to call us at 910-862-4591 or stop by the office.

The stress will subside and things will get back to normal in time.

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Nancy Olsen is an extension agent for agriculture-home horticulture and master gardeners at the Bladen County Cooperative Extension Office. She can be reached at 910-862-4591 or nrolsen@ncsu.edu.

Nancy Olsen is an extension agent for agriculture-home horticulture and master gardeners at the Bladen County Cooperative Extension Office. She can be reached at 910-862-4591 or nrolsen@ncsu.edu.