FEMA focuses on assistance as Wayne County recovers

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Wayne County recovering from floods
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Folks in Wayne County are returning to find their homes condemned

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- More than 2 weeks after Hurricane Matthew battered eastern North Carolina, several counties across the state are dealing with the aftermath.

"Right now, we're in recovery mode," Mel Powers explained. Powers oversees emergency operations as the Director of Emergency Services for Wayne County.

Residents in Goldsboro were in their community Wednesday cleaning up what was left after the flooding. Longtime resident Cleveland McKeithan told ABC11 he lost everything. He says he cried when he returned to his house to see a "condemned" sign posted on the front door.


"I been here my whole life," McKeithan said. "Whatever's in [the home], I'm going to lose. And I pretty much lost it already."

McKeithan stood in the front yard of his South John Street home as waste collection crews tossed his items in a dump truck. While McKeithan's personal property was being thrown away, his sister began to weep.

"You just seen them pick it up. And that's the rest of my stuff over there too," McKeithan said, as he pointed to the men loading the truck. "Everything's gone."

Tracey Jones understands what McKeithan is going through, as she too came home to a condemned house.

"The spray paint wasn't so bad, it was the condemned sign. The condemned sign was a heartbreaker," Jones explained. "Because I didn't know the details about it so I broke to pieces. Because the first thing you think is you don't have a home anymore."

Jones said most owners are unwilling to leave their condemned homes.

"Even though you're not supposed to be in the house, most owners don't want to leave their homes," Jones said. "They don't want to risk it being open for burglary. You don't want the mold to grow, you don't want anymore damage to take place. So the only way to actually assess anything and keep track of anything is to be here."

McKeithan, Jones, and other Wayne County residents are able to receive FEMA assistance. A FEMA operations center has been set up at W.A. Foster Recreation Center in Goldsboro.

"Faith in God," McKeithan said of how he's coping with the devastation. "Hoping that some day, something will happen, another blessing will come. But right now I don't have anything."

Residents can receive financial assistance in as little as a few days. Here's what is required for assistance:

Applicants will be asked for the following information:

  • Social Security number
  • Address of the damaged primary residence
  • Description of the damage
  • Information about insurance coverage
  • A current contact telephone number
  • An address where they can receive mail
  • Bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit of funds

Disaster assistance for homeowners and renters may include grants to help pay for:

  • Temporary housing
  • Essential home repairs
  • Uninsured and underinsured personal property losses
  • Other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.

Survivors can apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585.

Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.

Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available for businesses of all sizes (including landlords), private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters. Disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries.

The Goldsboro FEMA center is one of six in the state currently assisting Hurricane Matthew victims.

According to Wayne County's Emergency Operations Center, there aren't any reports of standing water in the county. In addition to FEMA's disaster recovery, the fire department is also conducting damage assessment.

Here are the locations of the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center locations:

Nash County DRC # 1

Nash Community College

3866 Eastern Ave.

Rocky Mount, NC 27804

Harnett County DRC # 2

Harnett County Governmental Complex

309 West Cornelius Harnett Blvd.

Lillington, NC 27546

Wilson County DRC # 3

Davita Dialysis Center (Old Location)

2693 Forest Hills Rd SW

Suite A (back of building)

Wilson, NC 27893

Edgecombe County DRC # 4

The Imperial Centre

270 Gay St.

Rocky Mount, NC 27802

Johnston County DRC # 5

Johnston County Industries

912 N Brightleaf Blvd.

Smithfield, NC 27577

Wayne County DRC # 6

W.A. Foster Recreation Center

(Top of the hill at Mina Weil Park)

1012 S. John St., Room 110.2

Goldsboro, NC 27530

Information provided by FEMA

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