Local News

Counselors on Hand to Help Victims Deal with Shelter Stress

Posted September 20, 1999

— Worrying, waiting and trying to sleep, evacuees spend their days as best they can, coping with boredom and the unknown that awaits them.

At its peak, Floyd's flooding forced 45,852 people across the state to seek refuge at shelters. As of Tuesday night, more than 3,000 are still at shelters, where the stress of the situation is starting to show.

Flood victims are doing anything they can to pass the time. About 100 Wayne County residents have spent almost a week at the Goldsboro Middle School shelter. Each night they wonder what is left of their homes and belongings.

In between nights at the shelter, Cathy Fortey works eight-hour shifts at the local Wal-Mart. Her home and her truck are underwater. The stress is starting to take its toll.

"You've got to wait to take a shower, got to wait in line to do everything. Not having your home is the toughest thing," she says.

Red Crossmental health counselors are on standby at the shelter for anyone overcome by stress or grief.

"Well, when they come back to us, they know they've lost everything and they don't know where to go, what to do. So we just let them vent, we just listen. Right now, that's really all we can do," says counselor Julie Pate.

Ursula Darden and her family have spent five days in the shelter. They do not know when they will be able to go home.

"It makes you frustrated when you have so many days, you hear the kids screaming and crying, and you don't know what to do or say to them," says Darden. "It gets you worried, frustrated."

Despite it all, most people are taking their stay at the shelter in stride. For some, it could be a while before they will be able to return to what is left of their homes.

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