On September 14, 2018, Hurricane Florence made landfall at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. It crawled across North Carolina very slowly. A friend described it as being stalked by a turtle. New Bern was particularly hard hit. New Bern is located where the Neuse River and the Trent River come together. East winds pushed water inland up the Neuse and into the Trent River. The water had nowhere to go, and downtown New Bern was under water. Restaurants and businesses were flooded. People lost homes and cars. The Cajun Navy spent the night evacuating people in low-lying areas that had not evacuated. It was a long and scary night. Thank God for the courage of the Cajun Navy.
It’s been almost a year. Some of the businesses have come back. Some haven’t. The Convention Center is still closed and is expected to reopen in October. I read one report that said that they found alligator tracks inside the Convention Center. That would not be surprising. Not all of the downtown hotels are open yet.
But the city is coming back. We will recover. Below is a picture that illustrates that fact:
The bear speaks to New Bern’s strength & recovery from hurricane #florence & features several honors to first responders on the back. #downtown #historic #newbernnc #bearcountry Congrats CresCom!
The ‘bears’ are a part of the landscape in New Bern. There are hundreds of large bears painted to represent various aspects of life there. The above bear took a short trip during the hurricane!
It is good to see New Bern recovering. We are not fully recovered–there are still houses that have not been repaired, roofs that have not been repaired, and other needs, but we are definitely moving in the right direction. The new bear represents that fact!
WITN Channel 7 posted an article on Thursday about the recovery funds for Hurricane Matthew. Yes, that’s Matthew–not Flo.
The article reports that because of administrative mistakes and inexperience, federal housing funds for victims of Hurricane Matthew have been delayed. As of July (two years after the hurricane) only 6% of the hurricane relief funds have been distributed.
Many organizations, such as Operation Blessing, Samaritan’s Purse, and other groups, have been working to help victims of Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Flo repair their homes, but are still a lot of people waiting for help.
In New Bern, it is currently very difficult to find a contractor to do repair work. Some less-than-ethical contractors came in from out of state, did part of a job, and left with the payment. The New Bern Convention Center is not expected to open until September.
It is a disgrace that two years after a natural disaster people are still waiting for federal aid. It is also discouraging that we have had a major disaster since Hurricane Matthew that we have not fully recovered from and that this year’s hurricane season is rapidly approaching.