Storm-related deaths reported in Wayne, Cumberland counties bring NC total to 26

Posted October 15

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— The number of Hurricane Matthew-related deaths in North Carolina rose again on Saturday morning to 26 after two people were found dead inside their flooded vehicles.

Gov. Pat McCrory said the victims were a 53-year-old man from Cumberland County and a 47-year-old woman in Wayne County. McCrory said "almost every one" of the deaths reported in the state were because of people walking or driving through flood waters.

Flood waters are beginning to recede in some of the towns inundated by cresting rivers, but many residents can't return to their homes and businesses.

At least 2,600 people are still living out of 35 emergency shelters, McCrory said, though daily life must go on for victims: McCrory said two healthy babies were born inside mobile hospitals stationed in Lumberton.

As people try to go back home, though, McCrory said fraud has already work its way into the cleanup effort.

"We will not tolerate fraud and scammers," McCrory said. "We are hearing messages that there are people, builders already trying to scam people. We're hearing hotels are possibly charging too high of prices. ... Our State Bureau of Investigation will conduct criminal misconduct investigations.

"If you see criminal misconduct, they need to be directed to the SBI, and we will take actions toward fraud, conspiracy, premeditated acts that go against the people that are hurting the most at this point in time. It will not be tolerated."

McCrory cautioned people to use only reputable contractors and give money only to known charities.

A long-term recovery plan will be announced early next week, McCrory said, to give victims of floods, as well as the state legislature, an idea of how the state will begin to clean up.

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  • Stacie Hagwood Oct 15, 1:45 p.m.
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    This is the shape of things to come. Nearly every new year has brought us record-setting temperatures over the last 2 decades, and Matthew has set a record for the Neuse River. Please vote for candidates that will use science to make sound decisions for our state and our country. We cannot afford to stick our head in the (in this case) mud.