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Three months later, Hurricane Matthew victims struggle for assistance

Posted January 4

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— Nearly three months after Hurricane Matthew, many who were flooded out of their homes are no closer to getting back in.

“If these trees wouldn’t have been here, all of it would have been a big sink hole,” Evelyn Lindsey said.

Evelyn Lindsey has lived in her home on Pennystone Drive for six years. Her home and others had to be gutted because of flood water from Hurricane Matthew.

FEMA has given Lindsey $33,000 for her loss, but she said that's not nearly enough to make repairs.

Lorrie Wynn has a giant sink hole in her backyard. It swallowed up her neighbor’s utility building and is threatening to suck her home into Rockfish Creek.

“I don’t want to live here. I’m afraid,” Wynn said. “For my house to be rebuilt, they say it will take $40,000, and I don’t have $40,000 to rebuild my house.”

Paul White has called all the emergency numbers and talked with Congressmen and local community leaders. But he said he’s not getting through to resources.

FEMA workers told White they’re supplying enough money to make the homes livable.

“Some of us haven’t gotten enough to make it livable, such as there’s $14,000 that FEMA will hand out with a home that has $30,000 to $40,000 worth of damage to it,” White said.

Residents say they're facing a disaster gap and need several agencies to work together to fix the damage caused by the storm.

“We want FEMA, the county to get together, to cooperate,” White said. “We talked to each other and come help us rebuild our homes so we can get back in them.”

Not everybody wants to move back in, but for those who do, they said the only thing worse than losing their home is losing hope to get back in.

The deadline is approaching for North Carolinians to seek federal aid in recovering from Hurricane Matthew. All claims must be registered by Monday, Jan. 9.

FEMA provides fund for rebuilding and cleanup as well as help with expenses, such as the costs of hotel nights away from damaged homes.

“Families and small businesses are still working hard to recover from Hurricane Matthew and we don’t want anyone to miss out on getting the help they need,” said Gov. Cooper. “Even if you think your insurance will cover your losses, I encourage you to register with FEMA.”

Applications can be made in person at a disaster recovery center, by phone at 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 800-462-7585 or online using the FEMA app or disasterassistance.gov.

The toll-free numbers are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.

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