Lumberton residents still stranded after Matthew

Lumberton residents still stranded after Matthew

LUMBERTON, NC (WMBF) - Sherby Hammonds doesn't have much. Since Hurricane Matthew, she's lived with family members and for the past few weeks she's lived at the Red Roof Inn. She has more than many in Lumberton do, though, after Hurricane Matthew. She has her car.

"I'm going to show you where they towed a lot of the vehicles that were flooded," said Sherby Hammonds. "A lot of the cars were towed. Flooded out. Many families have lost their vehicle, their homes, and in the event of all of that, their jobs."

There is a lot in Lumberton where all the cars totaled from flooding were taken. There are more than 3,900 totaled cars left in this lot, according to a man working there.

Hammonds has been volunteering her time and her car to drive people staying in the same hotel as her. The people here need transportation for basic things like grocery shopping.

"There are a couple of families with small children that I may take to the grocery store, or to Walmart," Hammonds said. "Just to go and get some of the things that they need."

According to Hammonds, there are four hotels in Lumberton and there are people living in all of them. Hundreds of people are unable to move back home. Some of their homes have been condemned.

"After the hurricane came and these people started filing claims on insurance, nobody's insurance is paying on people's homes that were destroyed through the hurricane if it was caused by the water coming up," she said.

The problem is Lumberton is not in a floodplain. After Hurricane Matthew hit, the area was designated a floodplain. But, according to Hammonds, since the people here didn't have flood insurance, their insurance companies aren't covering the damages. That leaves them with condemned homes they can't repair and FEMA aid for living expenses that is about to end.

"It's really important for anyone who is suffering damage to get in touch with us ASAP," said William Rukeyser, a Public Affairs Specialist with FEMA. "The deadline is going to be Jan. 9."

According to BankRate, an online financial publication, most homeowner's policies do not cover flood damage in natural disasters, even if you do not live in a floodplain.

For this Christmas, hundreds of people in Lumberton have no other choice than to spend the holiday with their families living in a motel room, praying for answers in the new year.

People living in Lumberton said they need a long term solution. The FEMA assistance they are receiving is helping them in the short term, but without a long-term solution to getting their homes repaired, many people don't know what they're going to do when the FEMA assistance ends.

Copyright WMBF News 2016. All rights reserved.