State News

Irene-ravaged areas start to see signs of recovery

Posted September 30, 2011 4:01 a.m. EDT
Updated September 30, 2011 7:07 p.m. EDT

— Five weeks after Hurricane Irene swept through eastern North Carolina, residents there are starting to see signs of recovery. Gov. Bev Perdue saw those same developments Friday in a visit to Bertie and Pamlico counties and traveled to the Hatteras Island community of Waves.

More than 28,000 people have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for assistance from the storm that reached landfall Aug. 27. Grants of $20 million have been approved for homeowners and renters.

FEMA said about 100 families have registered for trailers. This week, 18 of the temporary homes arrived in Pamlico County and eight were delivered to Beaufort County.

"This is when it is really hard. For the next year, these people who have lost everything have to pick up their lives," Perdue said.

Places like Waves are still isolated as North Carolina Highway 12 remains closed south of Nags Head where a storm surge breached the road. The Department of Transportation wants the road reopened with temporary repairs early next month.

Audrey and Ray Lupton's house in Lowland was flooded with 18 inches of water from Irene. The North Carolina Baptist Men helped pull up the floor boards, but the house still has mold growing in it. The couple has been living there despite the problems.

"It's been a hectic time, a hard time," Audrey Lupton said. 

The Luptons have contacted FEMA for help. 

"I have flood insurance. If you have flood insurance, they want you wait until you hear from the flood insurance before they can help you," Audrey Lupton said. 

On Friday, the Luptons received a FEMA trailer. 

"It's wonderful. We won't be smelling the mold and sleeping in it," Audrey Lupton said.