BURGAW, NC (WWAY) – Recovery efforts continue across Pender County as residents clean up from Hurricane Florence which damaged and destroyed homes in coastal and inland communities.
“Our first responders were amazing,” said Pender County Spokeswoman Tammy Proctor, “We had 1,870 rescue missions and they pulled more than 3,700 people out of the water.”
Two weeks after the massive storm, residents in Burgaw, Topsail Island, Canetuck, Currie, and other communities continue to clean up from the Category 1 storm.
Proctor says residents across the county are working hard to get their lives and their property back in order.
“They want to get back to their homes, they want to muck out those homes, they want to rebuild, they’re very, very resilient,” she said.
Unfortunately, some residents suffered complete or partial loss in recent years during Hurricanes Floyd and Matthew, and now they’re facing the same challenges again with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
“This hurricane surpassed all those benchmarks as far as rainfall and river risings, so it is the new record,” Proctor added.
For residents who sought refuge in an emergency shelter at Pender High School, there may be relief coming in the form of temporary trailers.
“Those folks will be transitioned into some sort of housing or they can go live with friends but we want to keep folks in the community so the lives of children aren’t disrupted and they can go to their own schools,” Proctor said.
Meanwhile, a number of groups including volunteer organizations and agencies have come to the county to assist with relief efforts.
“Right now, we’re trying to make sure distribution centers have what they need and that those volunteers that are servicing those areas in Currie or Highway 53 are able to get those supplies to those homes that are in need,” said Pender County Volunteer Coordinator Olivia Dawson. “We still need volunteers and hands that are able to work–there are a lot of homes that need to be cleaned out.”
If you would like to donate items to flood victims or volunteer, call 910-259-0311.
Due to Florence, Pender County Tourism has postponed some activities planned for October like its annual Ghost Walking Tour at the courthouse, but other things are in the works including a flood relief benefit concert.
“The director of Pender County Emergency Operations has some connections with Nashville so we are looking to see if we can have a pretty good benefit concert,” said Dawson.
Pender County Tourism hopes to host the event in November in downtown Burgaw but details are incomplete at this time.
This fall, community and business leaders in the eastern portion of the county plan to host the annual Autumn in Topsail which is a major boost to tourism.
“They are so excited, they feel they are providing something to give everyone a little entertainment and respite on the island,” Proctor said. “It is the largest festival on the island.”