LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – Hurricane season starts June 1st and Robeson County is still recovering from Hurricane Matthew.
Lumberton City Councilman John Cantey says he just moved back home after his house was flooded by Hurricane Matthew.
“It’s a strange feeling. I stayed in the hotel for four months. With family for one month,” said Cantey. “I don’t have any neighbors I’m living on a street with just two or three other people.”
Robeson County Emergency Management Director Stephanie Chavis says housing is the number one priority with 41 families still living in hotels.
“The problem is there were so many [homes] that sat in water for so long. You have the health issues to consider,” explained Chavis.
Thursday, the County Disaster Recovery Group and Emergency Management met with the State Disaster Recovery Task Force to talk about affordable housing options and case management.
Chavis explains this upcoming hurricane season the Emergency Operations center will implement new communication techniques, tracking devices for first responders and a revised emergency plan.
Lumberton City Council applied for two different grants to prevent flooding damages in the future.
“When the river overflowed this [the railroad] was the only opening all of the water could come through,” Cantey explained.
The first grant of $5 million dollars, if received, will install flood gates at the railroad opening near I-95.
“It’s going to be a staggered formation,” said Cantey. “In the time of a flood we can just close our flood gates.”
Council also applied for a $1.2 million dollar grant, if awarded, the money will build a barrier around the water plant. This will prevent the plant from flooding. Also, engineers should able to monitor the river gauge if it is not under water. Cantey says the grants will depend on the state’s budget.