BELHAVEN STRONG: Community pulls together to rebuild

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2018

On Saturday, in the midst of Hurricane Florence, Belhaven was inundated with several feet of water as the Pungo River was swollen by storm surge, and several homes and businesses were affected. With images and video footage of the Beaufort County town showing up on television, things looked bad.

By Wednesday afternoon, however, the scene in Belhaven had changed significantly, according to Belhaven Town Manager Lynn Davis. Since the final remnants of the storm passed on Sunday

“I have been really amazed,” Davis said. “As we’re driving around, yards look clean and some people have already put their landscaping back together. We’re seeing more homes that have been fixed back to the way they were originally than houses that haven’t been, although there are still some areas that need attention.”

While many citizens have taken cleanup into their own hands, Davis says that there has also been an outpouring of support for the community’s most elderly residents, with neighbors helping neighbors. Adding to those helping hands, Belhaven has also been aided significantly by crews who have come from outside the town.

“We’re trying to find the people that truly need assistance so we can get them what they need,” Davis said.

Davis went on to say that this process has been aided by the implementation of a county-wide disaster relief hotline being staffed in Washington by Virginia Baptist Disaster Relief. The hotline, which can be reached at 252-495-4060, is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and is designed to help connect those in need with those who can provide aid.

“That’s been great for us, because it’s given us that one point of contact,” Davis said. “The Baptist group is a wonderfully efficient organization and it’s just helped to direct efforts, rather than having everybody scrambling around to do the same thing.”

From an economic standpoint, Davis reports that a number of businesses were already open for business by Monday. As cleanup efforts continue for others, the businesses in downtown Belhaven are moving toward reopening, with professional cleaning and flood recovery services aiding in the process.

As the town continues its recovery efforts, an array of bright tee shirts have added a splash of color to the landscape in Belhaven. The message on the front speaks volumes. It simply says, “BelhavenStrong.”

The shirts are available for purchase at the Belhaven Town Hall at a cost of $20. Proceeds from shirt sales will go toward recovering cleanup efforts in the town.