Gov. Cooper visits Robeson County to see relief efforts after Florence

Gov. Roy Cooper in Robeson County

LUMBERTON, NC (WMBF) - As people in Robeson County continue to recover from Hurricane Florence, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper toured the area to meet with those helping with the process and check out the progress.

Governor Cooper arrived in Lumberton at 12 p.m. and was met with FEMA and Small Business Administration officials at the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center on Norment Road. There, he also spoke with local people affected by the storm stopping by to apply for assistance.

"Talking to the number of people that I have talked to who had gotten back in their home, we're doing well and got hit again it just has to incredibly frustrating," Cooper said.

With the help of Congress and the state's general assembly, Cooper said they were able to appropriate $398,430,477 through the 2018 Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery Act to assist North Carolinians with cleanup in the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

Local groups are also working hard on the ground. After the county’s Disaster Recovery Center, Cooper made his way to talk with and thank volunteers with Operation Blessing International set up at the East Lumberton Baptist Church. Cooper finished the tour helping the North Carolina Baptist Men gut out a home damaged by the storm on Park Street.

"We've had a lot of volunteers here. We've worked hard to feed people and a lot of people here now and working on temporary housing for people and we know that this is an issue throughout the state when you have so many people hit by this storm."

"We're seeing a lot of roof damage,” Kelly Nelson, a volunteer with Operation Blessing International said. “There's still a lot of floor flooding both in New Bern and Lumberton."

She added there are also many people displaced and hungry. At one point the organization fed more than 3,000 people in one day. Nelson said it helps that doesn't go unappreciated.

"When you show up and offer free help it just opens their heart and gives them hope and that's what people need right now," Nelson.

What better way, Billy Layton with NC Baptist Men said, than from the ones who make up the place they call home.

"We've had so many out of state teams come to help us help homeowners here, but to see neighbors helping neighbors that's the true blessing to us," Layton said.

People looking to help can go to governor.nc.gov to donate to the North Carolina disaster relief fund.

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