Irene batters Hyde County

Published 12:53 am Thursday, September 1, 2011

The downed power lines, ready fire trucks and busy volunteers tell one thing: Hyde County is still recovering from Hurricane Irene.

“We are going to be here at least for another week. It all depends on how fast that electricity is turned on in the areas that were affected by the storm. We are going to continue to be here until the need is met,” said Marsha Ogle, shelter manager for the Red Cross shelter at the Ponzer Community Building.

Ogle, a Parsons, Kan., native, came to Hyde County with 13 Red Cross volunteers, after they flew into Raleigh on Sunday night. Then, they met with other Red Cross groups at Wilson. Ogle and her group were sent to Mattamuskeet High School. They relocated to Ponzer after a generator failed.

Ogle said the shelter started operations at 10:30 a.m. Monday. By noon, it was feeding people. By Monday evening, approximately 1,400 people had been fed. The Red Cross volunteers worked with a group assigned to a Salvation Army mobile kitchen.

“That does include about 65 to 70 meals for all the firemen, police and EMTs in the area,” she said.

Tuesday, the shelter fed 600 people who came for lunch. Ogle expects those numbers to increase as recovery efforts continue.

“This is for anybody that had heard about us and needs help,” Ogle said.

To meet other needs, first-aid, injury and mental-health nurses provided by the Red Cross were at the shelter.

One of Hyde County’s largest employers is reeling from the hurricane.

The Rose Acre Farms egg facility faced power outages during and after the storm, but it used generators to stay in operation. Thirty generators were available if needed.

“We had some minor damages to some of the chicken houses, but other than that, we did fairly well. This is actually the highest point in the county, this spot here, so we did not have to deal with the flooding. Most of our problem was that we had so many employees that had catastrophic damage, that we had a shortage of workers. But it kind of seems to be getting back to normal, and we are starting to get caught up,” said Tony Wesner, Rose Acre Farms’ vice president.

The Swan Quarter Dike did what it was designed to do, said Jamie Tunnel, Hyde County’s public-information officer.

“The dike actually held. The water went right up to the very top of it. There were some places where it was running over, because of so much rain. But the dike itself was not compromised. There was a report during the storm that the dike had been compromised. So, we were working really hard to correct that rumor,” he said.

Tunnell said most flooding in the Hyde County mainland occurred near the Sladesville and Scranton areas.