Frustration in Lumberton after FEMA shuts down local relief effort

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Frustrations grow in hard-hit Lumberton after confusion about relief operations.

"They were not planned for this," Shakeia Bethea complained outside the Robeson County Water Department in Lumberton. "They said they had plans for us -- evacuation plans. The mayor, the governor, everybody. But there wasn't any plan made."

Bethea was one of a handful of people turned away from a pop-up supply distribution center set up by the County on Thursday.

"Very, very frustrated," she said. "I think they're doing a very, very bad job. My car is submerged under water so I have no transportation at all. So I just got here to get supplies but they told me I have to go to the Agricultural Center. I can't get there when my car is underwater."

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Robeson County Finance Director Kellie Blue said FEMA shut down the makeshift supply center around noon Thursday.

"I just got word from the county manager that FEMA is taking over," Blue told ABC11 about 2 p.m. "We were causing quite a bit of congestion on the road here, but you know, folks are desperate so they want supplies. We were using this as a staging site for stuff that's already been donated because we don't want to not accept it. We've got folks in need."

Shortly after the distribution center was closed, leaving pallets of food, water and medical supplies unclaimed, both the National Guard and Robeson firefighters were on site, moving the resources to other locations. Some went to the county's rural fire stations; some went to the local hospital; the rest was taken to the Ag Center.

"Folks are disgruntled," Blue said. "They're out of their homes. They don't know what they're going to return to if they're going to return to anything. So we've got a lot of heartbroken folks here."

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