Governor gives update on Matthew

RALEIGH — While substantial progress is being made in the recovery from Hurricane Matthew, Gov. Pat McCrory today noted that new flooding from rising river levels will create challenges in several eastern counties.

“We saw the best of North Carolina on our tour of Robeson County yesterday,” said Governor McCrory. “We saw people who are resilient and caring, including first responders risking their lives to save others and hundreds of volunteers helping those in need. There are still people hurting and we are doing all we can to help them. I want to especially thank our National Guard, Highway Patrol troopers, sheriffs and emergency responders for their incredible teamwork under very difficult circumstances.”

The governor said that stabilizing Robeson County remains a top priority today, as officials also respond to new flooding in Edgecombe, Pitt, Lenoir, Pender, Greene, Bladen and other counties.

The number of storm-related fatalities stands at 20 persons, while one person is still reported as missing in Johnston County.

Since the Expedited Major Disaster Declaration on October 10, the federal government has already disbursed $2.6 million to disaster survivors in North Carolina through the Individual Assistance Program. To date, more than 14,000 North Carolinians have already registered for this assistance.

The governor announced today that the federal government has approved $5 million of early release federal highway funds for emergency repairs in North Carolina.

Three new counties were added to the disaster declaration overnight, Sampson, Harnett and Greene. This brings the total to 17 counties with disaster declarations for individual assistance and 34 counties for public assistance. As joint preliminary damage assessments continue, the governor said he is hopeful that other counties will be added to the federal disaster declaration.

The first Disaster Recovery Center will open in the next few days. A Joint Field Office will open next week in the Raleigh-Durham area, with several hundred FEMA employees working alongside state officials on grant and relief programs to help individuals and communities recover and rebuild.

State officials are still monitoring the Cape Fear, Neuse and Tar rivers, which are forecasted for major flooding through this week. The Neuse River at Goldsboro has exceeded record stage and is currently receding. The Lumber River crested earlier this week, but officials are continuing to monitor the levels of it and other smaller bodies of water.

  • Neuse River at Kinston is forecasted to crest near record stage on late Friday
  • Northeast Cape Fear River at Burgaw is currently cresting
  • Tar River at Tarboro is currently cresting
  • Tar River at Greenville is forecast to peak early Friday morning

Flooding effects in Robeson County remain a top priority. North Carolina National Guard, the State Emergency Response team, the State Highway Patrol and many others are working with local officials to help with security and to ensure medical supplies, food, water, children’s supplies, cots and blankets are available to residents.

In Robeson County, 147 National Guard troops have been assigned and 60 National Guard soldiers have been reassigned from other areas to help support the Robeson County Sheriff’s Department in Fairmont. The state is coordinating with Wal-Mart to provide medications to a nursing home in Fairmont. An additional 50 Highway Patrol troopers have been deployed to Robeson County to provide additional law enforcement support.

Power outages across the state continue to fall. As of 10:00 a.m., outages statewide are down to about 56,000 from more than 800,000 on Sunday. Utilities continue to work around the clock responding to power outages in affected areas.

Evacuations have been ordered for the city of Greenville, the town of Princeville, the Black River Basin in Pender County, Bladen County, various areas in Lenoir County and the Woodlake Dam area of Moore County in anticipation of flooding caused by rivers cresting.

A total of 43 shelters remain open, housing about 3,400 occupants. Additionally, two medical support shelters are operating in Johnston and Wayne counties. The state is coordinating with FEMA to identify housing for displaced people.

North Carolina Baptist Men are operating kitchens in Fayetteville, Lumberton, Kinston, Rocky Mount and Whiteville, and another is scheduled to open in Greenville on Friday.

More than 1,000 National Guard troops and 380 vehicles have been activated since the storm began.

To date, nearly 2,300 people have been saved by search and rescue teams across eastern and central North Carolina.

Sections of I-95 from Lumberton to Fayetteville remain closed due to flooding and a seven-mile stretch of I-40 near Newton Grove is closed. N.C. Department of Transportation officials closed US 70 near Kinston last night, due to rapidly rising flood waters, but a detour is in place. In Edgecombe County, US 64 between the Tar River and NC 33 is closed in both directions due to flooding, but there is a detour in place.

Governor McCrory warned drivers not to necessarily rely on their GPS devices for road closures or detour information. Call 5-1-1 or use the ReadyNC mobile app for the latest road closure updates.

All seven North Carolina ferry routes have returned to service in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. Hatteras Island remains closed to visitors. Access is limited to residents, non-resident property owners and non-resident employees of businesses with proper re-entry passes.

The governor continues to warn residents of continued environmental dangers of the standing floodwaters. This is especially crucial in areas where floodwaters have crossed agricultural areas, which have been hit particularly hard by this storm. Those in affected farmlands who require assistance can call the Agriculture Disaster Hotline at 1(866) 645-9403.

On Tuesday, the governor activated the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund for Hurricane Matthew to support long-term recovery efforts in partnership with the United Way of North Carolina. People or organizations that want to help ensure North Carolina recovers can or text NCRecovers to 30306.

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