Lumberton officials set deadline for debris pickup

Months since Hurricane Matthew brought damaging winds and devastating floods to Robeson Co., there are still people in hotels awaiting repairs to public housing.

LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – The city of Lumberton is still dealing with the after effects of last October’s hurricane.

“Let’s start giving some life back to that community,” suggested Lumberton Public Services Director Linda Oxendine. She said in the months since Hurricane Matthew devastated the area, a new problem has been piling up.

“Tear-outs are still happening in our city,” Oxendine explained,  “There are still people that haven’t had their furniture, or their walls, or their floors removed.”

The large number of homes and businesses with substantial damage from last October’s storm left large piles of debris across the city. In response, the Lumberton City Council set a deadline for debris to be removed from outside homes.

The deadline is March 15. Oxendine said while the city has picked up much of the debris in the harder hit areas of South and West Lumberton in recent months, some areas still need cleaning up as renovations continue.

“If a person has a tearout or they’re just now getting around to removing the floors or removing the walls or removing whatever it is and they do load stuff in the street, they can leave it there till our city contractors come through, we try to do that once a week,” said Oxendine.

The remains of the Lumberton home where Sally and Monroe Sinclair had to flee by boat after Hurricane Matthew
“Inside these homes…there are no families.” In this October photo–what’s left of the Lumberton home where Sally and Monroe Sinclair had to flee by boat after Hurricane Matthew. 

Residents can also give the city a call to let them know there is new debris that needs to be picked up. Oxendine said the city cited health risks as one major reason for trying to speed the cleanup downtown.

“If debris stays in the yard for a long period of time, it’s going to draw rodents,” she explained. “It’s not something that you can leave there for an extended period of time.”

Oxendine said while hundreds have been able to leave hotels and motels over the last few weeks–

–“Inside these homes, there’s no walls, no floors,” she recalled. “Worst of all, there’s no families.”

Oxendine said her office and the rest of the city and surrounding governments won’t stop until Lumberton is back to what it was before Hurricane Matthew.

“Our goal is to restore our neighborhoods as soon as we can get them restored, and that’s one of the quickest ways to do that is to clean up this debris off the street.”

Oxendine says the list of needs for Lumberton is long but the most needed things by people moving out of hotels and back into homes are furniture and cookware.

Some important contacts if you would like to donate:

Latricia Freeman, Executive Director, Robeson County United Way (910)-827-1207

Veronica McLeod, City of Lumberton  (910)-671-3833

The City of Lumberton also has a warehouse at 2300 N Cedar in Lumberton where you can drop off donations.