Local News

Pender County Tornado Victims Await Federal Aid

Posted November 16, 2004

— In August, the remnants of Hurricane Bonnie spawned a deadly tornado in Pender County. The storm killed three people, injured dozens and left a path of destruction.

Not much has changed there in the last three months and many who live there worry they will never get the help they need to rebuild.

A powerful tornado devastated the Rocky Point community in a flash. Annette Glover and her husband, Robert, ran out of their bedroom just before it crashed through.

"It scared me so bad and the noise was so loud. It's a night that you'll never forget," she said.

Glover has a constant reminder -- her home looks much the same as it did the day after the storm.

"We don't have the money to do anything yet. We're both retired. We live on retirement, Social Security, and we just haven't got the money," Glover said.

Since August, the couple has been living next door at Glover's sister's house. The couple had no insurance. They applied for FEMA help, but Glover said the agency told her it cannot promise any assistance.

"We didn't have enough damage to meet the requirement, but still we need help," Glover said.

Pender County leaders said more than 30 people from the community are still living with friends or family or are renting because they cannot afford to begin the repair work on their homes.

At first, FEMA denied the state's request for any federal aid, saying there was not enough damage from Hurricane Bonnie to qualify. The agency is now reviewing that request.

"We all are taxpayers," Glover said. "Taxpayers in Florida -- they're helping them, but the taxpayers here, they refuse to help. I don't understand that part."

For now, storm victims like Glover can only hope and wait.

The state recently applied for help from other federal agencies as back up. Those applications can't be processed until FEMA makes its final decision.

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