‘Help is on the way’: Cooper tours Matthew’s lasting impact in Fair Bluff
FAIR BLUFF, NC (WWAY) — It’s been nearly nine months since Hurricane Matthew devastated parts of our state. Some areas in southeastern NC are still in the midst of recovery. Gov. Roy Cooper was in the region Wednesday to get a personal perspective on the damage and see what he can do to help.
“It’s clear that Fair Bluff was devastated by Hurricane Matthew,” Gov. Roy Cooper said.
Fair Bluff along with several other cities and towns are still slowly working to get back to normal since Hurricane Matthew last October.
“It’s so sad,” Jeff Prince, co-owner of Fair Bluff Ford, said. “There’s so many people that have been displaced and we need to get them back in their homes. We need to get people back in their businesses, people back to their jobs.”
Nearly nine months has gone by but hardly any progress.
With businesses destroyed and dozens of people still homeless, Cooper says it’s a priority for him to help speed up the recovery process.
While visiting the area, Cooper announced a $1 million grant to the Fairmont Waterwaste Treatment Plant to keep the wastewater system operating. Along with another $5 million grant to build new homes.
“Help is on the way, but we’re constantly fighting for more and it was good to hear some of the specific problems that are being faced by the people here,” Cooper said. “This is going to be a team effort.”
Cooper started his visit with the ribbon cutting of the town’s wildlife ramp followed by a tour of downtown Fair Bluff.
Mayor Billy Hammond says this was a much needed visit.
“Anytime you have an official come to town, it helps with the situation and moving forward,” Hammond said.
After the tour, the town held a meeting to discuss their progress. Cooper says there is a lot to be done but he is proud of the local leaders, citizens, and first responders.
“I’m amazed at the resiliency and the faith of people here in eastern North Carolina,” Cooper said. “The never say die attitude, even in the midst of devastation. You have leaders here who are determined to make life better for people here and it inspires us to work that much harder.”
The governor says he will continue working on what needs to be done now and ways to prevent such devastation in the future.
“We just appreciate what the governor is doing for us,” Prince said. “We know he’s got a monumental task ahead of him but we need certainly need every bit of assistance we can get.”
Cooper also stopped by the Lumberton levee and Fairmont Wastewater Treatment site before heading to Fair Bluff.