Local News

Months Later, Coastal Residents Deal With Isabel's Aftermath

Posted December 26, 2003 4:58 a.m. EST

— It has been months since Hurricane Isabel tore up the North Carolina coast. Since then, the

Federal Emergency Management Agency

(FEMA) has handed out more than $155 million in aid, but many people have not seen much help, which makes the road to recovery much longer.

The wind and waves brought by Hurricane Isabel flattened and flooded homes in one North Harlowe neighborhood. Thanks of Isabel, Alvin Smith has spent the past couple of months in a camper since the Neuse River flowed into his living room. Most of his home still has major water damage and Smith said financial help from FEMA is trickling in.

"Somewhere in the neighborhood of $35,000 to $40,000 worth of repair work and $5,000 just doesn't go very far," he said.

William Oxley has run into the same problem since Isabel damaged his property. He said most neighbors are turning to each other to recover.

"Everybody has kind of pitched in and helped each other out," he said.

Some hurricane victims have to stay with relatives, and they commute to the coastal areas every weekend to clean up. Smith said it may take longer then anyone expected, but he is confident this community will eventually rebuild.

Officials said 675 Craven County families and businesses applied for FEMA help after the hurricane, of which 282 have received more than $500,000 in aid.