ELIZABETHTOWN — Shelters in Bladen County have filled so much that food is becoming a scarcity.
As a result, at least one shelter began to transfer some of its evacuees to othershelters.
On Saturday, volunteers from the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office as well as school volunteers and those from other states were busy directing the people who were staying at East Bladen High School into transport vehicles to carry them to West Bladen.
Workers were also preparing to disperse the food there throughout the county.
“We don’t have means of heating the food,” explained Sgt. Larry Guyton, of the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office.
As of Saturday morning, at least 173 people had taken refuge at East Bladen, but County Manager Greg Martin said the numbers are falling. By 2:45, the county said 83 people and 16 pets were at West Bladen, 84 were at East Bladen, 36 were at Elizabethtown Middle and 65 were at East Arcadia.
Bladen Lakes Primary School was closed as a shelter because of potential flooding in the area. Those people were transfered to the middle school.
The return of residents to their homes is a good thing for the county, as greater-than-expected numbers in the shelters meant food was dwindling.
“The amount of food that was projected was based on past experience, but we’ve never experienced anything of this magnitude before,” Guyton said. “With Hurricane Matthew, East Arcadia might have had 50 to 100 people, and now they might have 200.”
Evacuees are being fed MREs, the food the military utilizes when cooking is not an option.
Volunteers at East Bladen said the kitchen lacks the electrical wiring necessary to run the kitchen off generators.
All five of Bladen County’s shelters lost power on Friday.
Deputies Chris Brisson and Clay Kelly from the Bladen County Sherriff’s Office unload food from East Bladen High School’s shelter kitchen to send it to Kelly and to West Bladen High School.
Volunteers at White Lake Volunteer Fire Department unload packaged food Saturday afternoon.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached at 910-862-7831 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alan Wooten can be reached at 910-247-9132 or email@example.com.