Federal officials on Monday temporarily closed 14 of the 22 disaster recovery centers assisting survivors of Hurricane Matthew because of security concerns.
“Effective immediately, you are to close your doors and cease operations for the remainder of the day,” Stephanie Nash-Roper, a FEMA deputy supervisor, wrote in an email Monday. “Due to the ongoing security issue we have been notified to close your centers now.”
Mike Wade, a spokesman for FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the agency closed the offices because a private security firm failed to meet its contractual obligations. Wade said he could not provide the name of the security firm due to legal concerns.
FEMA plans to open the offices as soon as possible, Wade said. In the meantime, people seeking assistance can call 800-621-3362.
The disaster relief centers are temporary officers run by FEMA and N.C. Emergency Management. Homeowners, businesses and renters can go to the offices to apply for disaster loans and other assistance.
The 14 offices that were closed are located in Beaufort, Bertie, Edgecombe, Columbus, Craven, Dare, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Pasquotank, Pender, Pitt and Wayne counties. The offices that remain open are in Harnett, Johnston, Hoke, Tyrell, Bladen, Sampson, Robeson and Cumberland counties.