Robeson County officials, residents getting set for Michael

Robeson County officials, residents getting set for Michael
Piles of damaged material from gutted homes lined along streets in a South Lumberton neighborhood. (Source: WMBF News) (Watson, Nia)

ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WMBF) - As Hurricane Michael is set to barrel through the Carolinas, places like Robeson County are making preparations in the midst of recovery from the reckoning of Hurricane Florence. Wednesday morning department heads, including some personnel from North Carolina Emergency Management, held their second meeting in preparation for Hurricane Michael. Emily Jones, the spokesperson for Robeson County, said emergency departments are making sure they have resources in place if needed and continue to watch the storm. Jones said although this storm won’t be as strong for North Carolina as Florence was, it may add to the damage. She said heavy rain may lead to flooding for some places, especially for those who live in low lying areas. The wet ground in most areas will also make it easier for winds to topple weakened trees and perhaps cause power outages.

“They are many people that are wanting tarps on their roofs, they want to board their house up," Jones said.

Right now, Jones said the focus is about making sure the work already done to rebuild homes is not destroyed in the storm. “We have so many organizations that are here helping to get people back in their homes and now those same homes they’re trying to make sure to get them prepared,” Jones said. One of those organizations is Hope Force, a disaster relief volunteer group. Manager Joey Stoltzfus said the group arrived in Lumberton 4 weeks ago to help out.

"We go in and remove the yuck and the muck, the dry walls, the floors and start the healing process for the house," Stoltzfus said. It's a process, he said, that isn’t easy when you're devastated with back to back storms. "When it starts raining again like this... they just recovered from Matthew, just slain by Florence and now it starts to rain. It can be another trigger event for them," Stoltzfus said.However, that's where groups like Hope Force come in and with a helping hand can hopefully ease some of the pain."When you're devastated and someone comes along and love on you in practical ways, this is how we choose to love on people by helping them get their house cleaned out," Stoltzfus said.

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