Cooper: ‘There are a lot of challenges’ remaining for Matthew recovery
Gov. Roy Cooper spoke to farmers in Robeson County Tuesday evening to get an update on Hurricane Matthew recovery.
Todd Allen has lived in his home for 42 years. He’s also the Pine Terrance Fire Chief and lives about a half mile from the Lumber River.
Flood water from Hurricane Matthew destroyed his home and stood about four feet inside his fire station across the street.
“We still got a long way to go,” Allen said. “We’ve got a lot of people that are not anywhere close to getting in a home and not having anywhere to live. It’s still a bad situation.”
That’s why Cooper spent several hours listening to business owners and residents about where they are in the recovery process.
“We’ve provided some help through FEMA and some grants to help with infrastructure,” Cooper said. “But we know there are a lot of challenges.”
There is some progress being made. Out of the 124 roads that were closed after the storm, only two have not been repaired.
The governor said affordable housing was a problem in the county before Matthew and is contributing to more than 100 families still living in motels.
Volunteer groups like the Baptist and Methodist builders have help hundreds of flood victims get back in their homes. The fire chief said he is one of the lucky ones because his home is just about rebuilt.
“These people are not fortunate enough to have money to fix a home,” Allen said. “They need to work out a way to help those folks.”
The governor says he’s doing just that. He says the state has petitioned congress for an additional $925 million in Hurricane Matthew relief aid.
He said that is a scaled down number because the need is greater than that. He said he’s hopeful that money will begin to help local residents by sometime this summer.