2 years later: Hurricane Matthew a slow healing wound

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Fayetteville residents still rebuilding from Hurricane Matthew on its 2 year anniversary

As North Carolina braces for another storm, we are looking back at the hurricane from Fall 2016 that devastated our state. Monday marks two years since we were pummeled by Hurricane Matthew. It was a heavy duty rainmaker with flooding that proved catastrophic.

Residents in Vanstory Hills are still living in a nightmare.

"If you look out our front window. That's what you see. That big crater with all that junk in there," said Ray Vallerey.

Vanstory Hills' Mirror Lake was pretty full days before the storm. The relentless rains made for a disaster that destroyed the dam and sent water pouring into homes.

"So we had about thirteen inches of water in our basement," said Bob Bangs.

That wasn't quite what Mr. Bangs envisioned when he told his wife he wanted to build a lake-front property.

"We remodeled it and opened up the back." said Bangs.

Aside from the aesthetics, the leftover damage created an inconvenience. Mirror Lake Road is still washed out.

"It's a bit of a traffic issue.. in the mornings I know a lot of people around the neighborhood understand," said Bangs.

Meanwhile Mr. Vallerie's home sits literally along the banks of the creek and Mirror Lake Road. He can't seem to understand why it's taking the city so long to make repairs.

Eyewitness News took resident concerns to the City Of Fayetteville which confirmed that repairs are right on target to start anytime this month. Meanwhile, other neighborhoods don't plan to wait around. Arran Lakes along with four other developments filed a lawsuit demanding the city take on the cost of repairs even though it's a private dam.

They argue the city uses it more than them, mostly for storm water drainage and infrastructure even to the point of charging a storm water fee. While the city of Fayetteville has been empathetic to their plight, there is a dam policy in place. Still, they're hoping to work with the homeowner's association ahead of a potential legal battle.

While Florence is still fresh on the minds of many, residents in Creek's Edge are still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Matthew. Eyewitness News visited the neighborhood on Thursday and saw construction crews still renovating apartments damaged during the 2016 storm. Corrie Lewis moved in last year and didn't know about Matthew. Florence made sure she got a taste of what Mother Nature could do in her neighborhood.

"(The water) was up to the bottom of the windows," said Lewis.

Next door, her neighbor's ceilings were hanging by the shreds. Baby belongings were scattered across the floor. She was fortunate enough to move but Lewis was forced to settle for a less flooded unit in the same neighborhood.

"Unfortunately, we have no other option right now, being without help from FEMA because there wasn't extensive damage we're just not able to go ahead and get out right away," said Lewis.

Why can't I get FEMA help? And other frequently asked questions

Hurricane Matthew destroyed homes, ate away at infrastructure and dispersed residents. Families are still struggling to put their lives back together. So where is the help?

In May, our iTeam Troubleshooter tracked down hundreds of millions in unspent recovery funds and, according to a report on Aug. 31, little has changed. Our state has only spent a little more than a half a million of the $239 million Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Relief. The report even lists NC as slow spender. Since then, lawmakers have urged residents to get their forks out and apply for the grant to help eat away at the unspent balance.

Hurricane Matthew might have been two years ago however; it's a wound that's slow to heal for survivors.
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