FEMA's announcement that it won't run out of funds this week is good news for counties in eastern North Carolina. Local governments have been fronting the bill for disaster relief without a guarantee of reimbursement after Hurricane Irene. In Hyde County, health director Wesley Smith says officials ordered an insecticide spray from low-flying planes for 20,000 acres. He says flooding caused a boom in the mosquito population.
Wesley Smith: "The mosquitos were swarming so bad that these guys couldn't get out and do any work. So it's kind of two-fold. It's the concern for the disease and also cleanup efforts. That's one of the reasons we have requested the aerial spray."
Smith says a specialist in his department usually takes mosquito population samples based on how many land on his body in one minute. The county started taking samples soon after the storm passed.
Smith: "He was getting anywhere from 20 to 40 to 50 within the different parts of the county. Well, a week later, we'll just say it's too numerous to count; more than 200 mosquitos per minute."
Bad weather kept planes on the ground last weekend. Smith says he expects pilots to spray overnight within the next few days.