Locals still rebuilding three years after Hurricane Florence

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LELAND, NC (WWAY) — It’s been three years since Hurricane Florence battered Southeastern North Carolina, leaving 30 inches of rain and causing dozens of deaths.

Though we’ve come a long way, the farther you get from the center of town, the more devastation still goes unaddressed. That’s what Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry, or WARM is working to fix.

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When water levels fell after Hurricane Florence, WARM’s executive director JC Lyle said organizations got to work.

“So immediately after Hurricane Florence,” she remembered, “WARM staff members called all the people on our waiting list. We went out and tarped roofs and did emergency repairs.”

Three years later, volunteers like the group of WARM volunteers dubbed “The Band of Brothers” are still rebuilding homes flooded and rotted out from the storm.

“The wind is gone. The hurricane is gone. And you think the hurricane damage is over with, but the amount of water that leaked and infiltrated,” said volunteer Mike Zalob. “And if you don’t get it cleaned up, it just keeps working its way through the building and making it weaker and weaker and weaker.”

Tuesday volunteers replaced rotted flooring for man with mobility issues.

“The floors have pretty much disintegrated since Hurricane Florence came through and soaked his house,” said Lyle.

WARM has repaired almost 250 houses across five countries after Hurricane Florence, but had to slow down due to supply shortages, price increases, and the pandemic.

Lyle continued, “COVID 19 obviously slowed us down tremendously. Our volunteers dropped off by 75 percent last year.”

Though this is Hurricane Florence’s third anniversary, Lyle said there’s still work to be done for the community to ever fully recover.

“We continue to get applications ever three years later. Right now we have about 60 people waiting. And we hope to get to them fairly quickly.”

Mike and band of WARM volunteers meet every Tuesday and Thursday to rebuild homes. If you’re interested in giving of your time or money to help community members recover, click this link to learn more.