Officials update storm damage recovery efforts in Kitty Hawk

A portion of North Carolina Highway 12 is collapsed from overwash caused by Hurricane Matthew on Oct. 10, 2016. WAVY/Andy Fox

DARE COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — Several North Carolina officials were in Kitty Hawk Wednesday afternoon for an update on storm damage recovery efforts.

Outer Banks residents have a long cleanup ahead

Northeast parts of the state were slammed as Hurricane Matthew surged across the East Coast earlier this month. Dare County estimates Matthew caused $52 million in damages.

Hatteras Island received the brunt of the damage, with assessments of more than $32 million reported.

Photos: NC 12 overwash from Hurricane Matthew

Gov. Pat McCrory confirmed last week that 26 people died from the storm statewide.

Officials from Dare County, Kitty Hawk and the North Carolina Department of Transportation attended Wednesday’s news conference. Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest praised the work of local officials with storm relief and recovery. He added there’s more work to be done.

“You know in about six months, FEMA is going to be gone, and I just believe this is the time where we hope the best of North Carolina comes out and shines,” Lieutenant Governor Forest said.

Forest announced Governor McCrory’s intention to work on a recovery task force. The purpose is to assist with recovery from Hurricane Matthew in the months and years to follow. The governor wants to set up a relief fund to help with food, clothing, and permanent housing for those hit the hardest.

The task force will examine the storm’s economic impact and work to rebuild key infrastructure. The state task force will work on unemployment assistance. One of the key pieces to go into action will be tax relief.

The state will extend the tax filing deadline for people hit hard by the storm.

“There’s a lot of creative things that can be done with this task force,in the mean time, even before FEMA can act,” Lt. Gov. Forest said.

Overall, FEMA has approved $672,390 for Dare County. Find more information about disaster declarations in North Carolina here.