Governor Roy Cooper makes disaster declaration for Town of Dortches

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Wednesday, August 2, 2023
Disaster delcared for town of Dortches
The declaration will make it easier for the town to get more help

DORTCHES, N.C. (WTVD) -- After two weeks of devastation for the Town of Dortches, Governor Cooper has issued a disaster declaration.

The declaration will make it easier for the town to get more help, since the initial damage assessment of the tornado was not enough to qualify for federal help.

It also will authorize funding to help with cleaning up debris and other emergency responses.

"I have worked about ten hurricanes across the country, and I was shocked what a tornado could do," said Jovan Dowdy, owner of Transformation Professionals out of Rocky Mount.

He was called to the scene by a property owner, and has been working with his team to clear the lot over the past two weeks.

"Removing trees and stumps, and demolition debris removal. This house here was destroyed and moved from its foundation, and due to that it was not salvageable," said Dowdy.

Despite the destruction, which reduced several homes to rubble, nobody died.

"This structure had no roof. And there were several people inside, and it didn't look survivable, but they were able to survive it and able to leave without any injury," said Dowdy.

Wednesday, Mayor Jackie Vick met with a claims adjustor to show the impact of the tornado to Town Hall, though most of the issues are cosmetic.

"A little bit of roof damage with limbs and debris hitting it. Gutters, the roll-up doors for the Fire Department, they have to be replaced," said Vick.

Vick encouraged residents to reach out directly to town officials to share their issues.

"Their needs today are not what they were five, six, seven, eight days ago. As time progresses, you pick up on something that seems like new each and every day. So that's why we're trying to have this gathering today of people coming in trying to tell us exactly what they do need," said Vick.

People can stop by Town Hall from noon to 6:00 PM on Wednesday, and 3:00 to 6:00 PM on Thursday. For those unable to attend either open period, they can call 252-443-9131.

Vick credited the community's response, highlighting efforts to help those most affected.

"The groups like the Dortches Baptist Church feeding people, the Baptist Mission teams clearing property. Mennonite churches, Methodist churches, just individuals with chainsaws and rakes trying to help people out. As much as it is a disaster here, as bad as it is, it's brought out a lot of good too. Seeing people come together, helping one another," said Vick.

The resilience and unity will continue to play an important role in the recovery process.

"Maybe the storm lasted 30, 45 seconds. I was here when it hit, and it was brief. But you can see, you won't get over it in 45 seconds. We're probably talking years for people to get their life back to the new norm," said Vick.