FEMA application deadline for NC hurricane victims approaching

The remains of the Lumberton home where Sally and Monroe Sinclair had to flee by boat after Hurricane Matthew

LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – The deadline for NC hurricane victims to register for FEMA disaster assistance is fast approaching.

Sally Sinclair and her family–like many in Robeson County–were taken by surprise as Hurricane Matthew passed through.

“It was just like we were at the beach,” Sinclair recalled. “Just like waves it kept coming.”

Unlike the ocean though, this water stayed right where it was.

“It was just so much water, everything was floating.”

She said even with the water rising around her home, she was still shocked when she and husband Monroe were finally forced to leave–by boat.

“We lost the house, material things like cars,” she said. “[My daughter] had come over and her and her son had new cars and they lost their cars too.”

Sally’s daughter Freda ended up hosting Sally and more than 20 other family members at her home following the storm, as one by one they tried to recover from the disaster.

“It was a lot because going from 2 to 20 is stressful, very stressful,” Freda said. “But it was my family so I did what I had to do to help them.”

After the storm, Sally reached out to FEMA for help.

“The young girl that waited on me said, “With all those people in the house you need a house.’ They contacted me back so fast and really went to work on it.”

The deadline for victims to register in NC is Monday, January 9th, and FEMA said more than $22 million in aid has already gone out in Robeson County alone. FEMA paid Sally’s deposit and first month’s rent on a new home, where she and Monroe sit right now.

“I’m just thankful,” Sally said. “I look around and think, ‘Maybe I need to pinch myself to see is it real.'”

Officials in Lumberton and Robeson County say it’s also a good idea to check out local non-profits like the United Way and Churches who are still helping to give clothing and furniture for the many people still displaced. The Sinclairs especially wanted to thank Eden International Ministries for their tireless help in recovery.

Sally Sinclair said it’s very important to get connected to help the way she did.

“If you sit there and don’t apply for it, you won’t ever be able to get it,” she advised. “You have to go out there after it.”