Goldsboro mayor: 'I see devastation'

Posted October 13, 2016 6:19 p.m. EDT

— Some residents in Wayne County are beginning to return home to find out how badly Hurricane Matthew damaged their homes, but many others are still waiting for flooding to recede before they can begin to clean up.

The Neuse River was expected to crest in Goldsboro on Thursday night, and Mayor Chuck Allen said recovery will be slow and painful.

"I see devastation," Allen said as he looked at his water-logged city, "and I see a heck of a problem for months and, really, years to come."

The state's Flood Inundation Mapping and Alert Network estimates damage to 131 buildings in Goldsboro, totaling more than $1.2 million.

Jesus Cruz hopes his home isn't counted among the damage. He was able to get closer to his house Thursday than he has all week as water receded in the neighborhood, but he still can't tell if any water got inside.

"The poorest of the poor are the ones getting hit the most heartbreaking news," said Gov. Pat McCrory, who got his first look Thursday at flooding in Wayne County. "They're the ones who can least afford having their homes and clothes and everything that belongs to them (destroyed)."

McCrory said his immediate goal is to get residents evacuated from areas expected to flood. Later, he said, the goal will be to get them out of shelters and provide help so they can obtain permanent housing.

"People are helping people," Allen said. "That's what America is about, that's what North Carolina is about and tha'ts what we're about here in Wayne County and Goldsboro."