Relief efforts continue, schools remain closed

Published 9:44 pm Monday, October 10, 2016

As more flooding is expected to come this way with area rivers pushed beyond capacity, relief efforts throughout eastern North Carolina continue.

The eastern N.C. chapter of the American Red Cross reported opening 80 shelters as of Sunday, serving more than 3,800 people and expecting more in the days to come.

“Hurricane Matthew has devastated our communities and recovery will be a group effort. Volunteers, partner organizations, and state and local officials will work together day and night until every need is met,” stated Barry Porter, regional chief executive officer of the Red Cross in eastern N.C. “And while the storm has passed, we’re not out of the woods yet. We expect most of the rivers to crest mid-week and cause additional flooding. Red Cross will be on the ground for weeks to come.”

The Salvation Army is also working with its cohorts to deliver hot meals and help shelter residents who need it.

According to its website, Salvation Army of the Carolinas has already provided 55,653 meals, 49,844 drinks and 81 mobile kitchens.

The Washington branch serves a wide range of locations, including Beaufort, Hyde, Tyrrell, Washington, Martin and Bertie counties.

Capt. Bruce Rabon, commanding officer at the Washington Corps, said his branch is only serving Beaufort County at this time, but is ready to help if other counties need it.

“We’re here in case they do,” he said.

Until Monday, the Washington Corps was helping serve food to the American Red Cross staff and residents at the Southside High School shelter, according to Rabon. That shelter location was closed down Monday morning, but the P.S. Jones Middle School location remained open.

Rabon said the Salvation Army has also provided meals for National Guard members in the area, first responders, and starting today, will provide three meals a day to anyone working out of the Emergency Operations Center. He estimates his corps alone has provided almost 600 meals.

Power outages could continue throughout the region for the next several days, but it was restored to Washington and Chocowinity Monday afternoon.

Rabon said the Salvation Army is not serving meals to the public anymore, but its food pantry at the office on Seventh Street in Washington is still available for those who need it.

With the outages and hazardous road conditions, Beaufort County Schools and Beaufort County Community College will both remain closed today.

Dr. Don Phipps, superintendent of Beaufort County Schools, said the power was knocked out in all of the schools, and only a few had power restored early Monday. Today is an optional teacher workday.

Phipps said there did not appear to be any significant flood damage in any of the school buildings.

He said earlier any school closing decisions will be made on a day-to-day basis.

For assistance, call the American Red Cross at 800-768-8048, or stop by the Salvation Army office, 112 E. Seventh St., Washington.