Hurricane Irene victims 'are still really suffering'

Posted October 27, 2011

— It has been two months since Hurricane Irene hit parts of eastern North Carolina, and, in many places, the cleanup is far from over. In Beaufort and Pamlico counties, flooding was a big part of the problem, leaving homes and businesses uninhabitable.

At Carolina Seafood in Beaufort County, workers have been shaping the company back to what it was before the storm. There wasn't much left of the crab processing company following the hurricane.

“I just went to my knees and cried,” said Vance Henries, owner of Carolina Seafood. “Walls were busted in. We had trees – floating trees – that had come in like torpedoes and just took walls out.”

With nowhere to process the crabs, most of the employees had to look elsewhere for work. Employee Janet Diffenderfer says, after a hurricane, “elsewhere” is hard to find.

“No (one was) hiring. They weren’t even hiring before the hurricane hit,” she said.

Crossing over into nearby Pamlico County, some homeowners say it’s tough to tell it has been two months, or two days, since Irene.

“It feels like forever. Although, then it still feels like yesterday, and I just keep thinking I’m going to wake up and it was all a dream,” said homeowner Sue Caroon.

Irene recovery Irene recovery slow along NC coast

Caroon's family was hit hard by the storm. Her mother-in-law owned a home and used it as a rental property, but Irene damaged it beyond repair.

Caroon’s and her husband’s house, which was remodeled several months ago, now has mold so thick that it looks like cobwebs. Caroon and her husband were home when the water flooded the house.

“It came in so fast that we really had no time to really get anything,” she said.

In both counties, things are slowly returning to normal. Though operating at just 30 percent of its normal workload, Carolina Seafood has returned to sorting crabs. The Caroons now have a temporary trailer installed in their front yard. They all realize they have a long way to go.

“People here in this area are still really suffering,” Caroon said.

Carolina Seafood's owners say they hope to be back to processing crabs by March. The Caroons say they are working on getting a small business loan to help them rebuild.


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  • kosadler Oct 28, 2011

    Shame on the people that have made nasty comments about people in Pamlico and Beaufort Counties. The majority of these people had Flood Ins.. Where the Caroon's live has never had waters that high even in Hazel and Ione in the 1950's, not prepared, they were as prepared as you can get. Whining, I dont consider it whining, I am amazed as to how people in the middle of OUR state can come to our beaches,eat the seafood provided to you by the commerical fisherman and seafood houses in this area and then talk trash about the very people that provide your luxury. Let me tell you hereandnow99, I have lived there and as for not knowing they knew the risk, but I too have NEVER seen the waters come in that fast and I live 30 minutes away from there! If you as me who is ignorant I would say you take the cake, dont pass judgement on things you have never experienced. And do me a favor the next time you belly up to seafood, I TRULY HOPE IT IS THAT SO-CALLED SEAFOOD FROM SOME OTHER COUNTRY!

  • Coolbeans11 Oct 28, 2011

    If you total up the artists losses alone you're talking millions. Youmakeitsoeasy

    Millions? Millions??? Most of the artists who participate in outdoor events know that they could be rained out. They don't put all of their eggs in one basket and they plan multiple ways of moving their product. Sounds like you need a new profession.

  • Shamrock Oct 28, 2011

    "town of Cary when they cancelled their big street fest, and did not have even a thought of a backup plan, should be reimbursed for their losses. If you total up the artists losses alone you're talking millions.

    Shame on the town of Cary for costing my grandma a big chunk of her yearly income."

    So where is your grandma's backup plan? Why is she relying on someone else to have a backup? Most artist will move on to other events and sell their products. Too bad RTP area people did not have the opportunity to buy.

  • ncangelmom2 Oct 28, 2011

    Sure they choose to live there, just as you choose to live here. That's their life on the water. On the other hand they don't care to hear you complain when you have to pay higher water rates or get fined because there is a drought! Works both ways. Unlike the drought problem, flood victims have to wait for people higher up to complete their "paperwork" before they can go on with their lives. Try living without water for a few days! I agree with you dalexander49.......I lived on the coast for a few years. And jobs on the water is what alot of these people do. If there is no fish, crabs, shrimp, scallops and so on, they don't eat, and we that live inland pay 2x or 3x what seafood should cost. You know the old saying "walk a mile in someone else's shoes"

  • batcave Oct 28, 2011

    Shame on the town of Cary for costing my grandma a big chunk of her yearly income.

    you gotta be kidding me. first time it had been cancelled, they consulted with forecasters. Indiana State fair? The town of Cary does not owe anyones granny an income fyi.

  • clsimpkins Oct 28, 2011

    I'm shocked and appalled at the lack of understanding and sympathy for the Carroon family. They did, indeed, have flood insurance. Unfortunately, flood adjusters are taking their sweet time getting the deserved benefits to any families. Meanwhile, this family gets to sit in their front yard and watch mold take over their home, a home they worked very hard on! They followed your rules and covered their home. This devastation isn't out of ignorance! Shame on anyone who is so above such devastation that they can cast stones at ANY family in need. I hope you can all sleep at night.

  • Nancy Oct 27, 2011

    "everyone want to live near the sea,"

    Very true, yet with that choice comes major financial exposure and it's getting to the point where the feds (we) can't afford all the damage.

    According to NOAA data, in 2008 over 50% of our population lived within 50 miles of the oceans.

  • dalexander49 Oct 27, 2011

    General Wayne, I am from North Eastern NC. Although I now live in the RTP area, that's where my roots are. IF you like fresh seafood, don't complain if the people along the coast give up this way of life and you have to pay thru the nose for seafood from other states. It 's a HARD HARD life living on the coast and working for a living. Vacationing there and working there are like the difference between steak and pork

  • LovemyPirates Oct 27, 2011

    cwood3 So, if Beverly Perdue is clueless, how has she done a pretty good job with Irene relief?

  • genralwayne Oct 27, 2011

    "Shame on the town of Cary for costing my grandma a big chunk of her yearly income."

    Really? Those who choose to live in the flood zones along the coast have no justifiable right to complain when floods happen. Those who earn their living working outdoor events haven't a leg to stand on when their event is rained out. You want security - find a safer place to live and a better way to earn and income.