Updates from Cumberland County authorities:
Sunday, October 16, 2016
North Carolina Flooding: Third death confirmed in Cumberland County, 26 in state
A third storm-related death has happened in Cumberland County in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, the state joint information center said Saturday.
A 63-year-old man died Wednesday when he collapsed after getting out of his vehicle, said Pam Walker, a public information officer for the state. The confirmation the death was storm-related was made by the public health division of the Department of Health and Human Services, a normal protocol during incidents such as Hurricane Matthew, following consultation with the emergency responders.
The governor’s office announced the death on Friday. There were no other details on how the man’s death was storm-related. His name has not been released.
Spokeswoman Sally Shutt said the county also had no other details.
Floodwaters and vehicles were involved in the other two deaths. Isabelle Ralls, 81, was found Monday afternoon found in her 1991 Ford Taurus near Rhodes Pond in the northern part of the county. Thursday, the body of Tarry Faircloth, 53, was found less than 100 yards from his 1997 Dodge Avenger at the Clinton Road entrance ramp to Interstate 95.
The Cape Fear region has had 11 deaths related to the storm. Three people were killed in Robeson County, two each in Bladen and Sampson counties, and one in Columbus.
Columbus: Danny Gale Chestnut, 70, of Swamp Fox Highway East in the Nakina community of Tabor City, was found about 50 yards from where his abandoned pickup at Gore’s Chapel in Nakina. His body was found Tuesday.10/11
Sampson: Solomon Hickmond, 30, of Garland, died Oct. 8 after his 2012 Chevrolet Equinox hit a tree near N.C. 411. The only details on the other death, announced by the governor’s office Oct. 9, indicated a car attempted to pass through a flooded road.
Bladen: Two people were killed and one escaped a vehicle traveling in Clarkton on Rosindale Road, which collapsed leaving the car submerged in water. Shawn Dale Kemp, 44, and Juwan Rolando McKoy Carter, 22, died.
Robeson: The name of a Fairmont man found dead in his home hasn’t been released. He appeared to rely on an oxygen tank and could not escape the house. His death was announced Thursday by the governor’s office. Terry Strickland of Lumberton died when his car was swept off N.C. 211 by water. His death was announced Tuesday. Charles Ivey, 76, of Lumberton died Monday when he fell into water at his home on West Fifth Street.
Statewide, the death toll stood at 26 late Saturday evening. In addition to the Cape Fear region counties, there have been four deaths in Johnston County, three in Lenoir, two each in Wilson and Wayne, and one each in Pitt, Rowan, Gates and Wake counties.
The Associated Press last week reported a Harnett County death connected to the storm, but governor’s office press releases do not indicate one in the county.
Nationally, 43 people have died as a result of the storm.
Gov. Pat McCrory said Saturday that the death toll in North Carolina is at 26 from Hurricane Matthew and its floodwaters, including two in Cumberland County. Crews continue to work on damaged Interstate 95 in Robeson County, with no timetable for when the major North-South route will reopen.
Almost all the deaths in North Carolina have been from people driving or walking into flood waters and being swept away. In Cumberland, Isabelle Ralls, 81, died near Rhodes Pond in the northeast, and Tarry Faircloth, 53, was killed off Clinton Road east of the Cape Fear River.
Interstate 95 remains closed in both directions around Lumberton, despite crews working around the clock to fix bridges, pavement and clear debris. Crews can't give an estimate on when the East Coast's main north-south highway will reopen at that spot.
"We have to see the inspections, we have to finish the engineering, we have to finish the construction," McCrory said.
McCrory talked a lot about recovery at his Saturday news conference - one week after the hurricane dumped more than a foot of rain 100 miles inland causing massive flooding in the eastern part of the state. Towns such as Princeville, Lumberton and Fair Bluff remain under water, and not all rivers have crested.
Early next week, the governor plans to release a detailed plan on how North Carolina will rebuild, including how to pay for the effort. But he said serious problems remain.
"There are still many, may difficult days ahead for North Carolina," McCrory said.
Two babies have been delivered in a mobile hospital unit, his office said, commending the Med 1 Mobile Hospital of Charlotte that is stationed in Lumberton.
The Lumber River is receding throughout Robeson County, but is not expected to drop below major flood stage until Monday afternoon. The Neuse River at Goldsboro reached record levels this week and is not expected to drop below major flood stage until Sunday evening.
The Neuse River at Kinston also reached record high levels and is not expected to drop below major flood stage until late Wednesday. The Tar River is expected to drop below major flood stage at Tarboro this evening, but it is not expected to drop below major flood stage in Greenville until Tuesday morning.
The governor's office said the number of statewide power outages continues to drop, down to 13,366 from a peak of over 800,000 on Sunday. A majority of these, approximately 12,000, are located in Robeson County.
The North Carolina National Guard has 1,136 reservists activated. There have been 2,333 water rescues to date, but there were no rescues reported overnight.
Over 660 roads remain closed through central and eastern North Carolina due to damage or flooding, the governor's office said. Drivers are being told not to rely on GPS devices for closure and detour information. Call 511, download the ReadyNC app or visit ReadyNC.org for the latest road closure updates.
The governor said that officials are continuing to work with FEMA to develop temporary housing solutions to those who have been impacted. Since the state received its disaster declaration Monday, the federal government has dispersed nearly $9 million to disaster survivors through the Individual Assistance Program.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved North Carolina’s request for a hot meal waiver in all 100 counties, allowing Food and Nutrition Services recipients to purchase hot meals prepared for immediate consumption from authorized Electronic Benefits Transfer retailers.
The governor warned citizens to be on the lookout for fraudulent activity and scam operators and that the State Bureau of Investigation will pursue criminal charges. He also warned citizens to verify the license of any contractor prior to hiring and to only give money to credible relief efforts.
Flooding triggered by the hurricane has killed at least 43 people in the United States and more than 500 people in Haiti
Meanwhile, drought continues to creep into areas of North Carolina west of Charlotte, which saw almost no rain from Hurricane Matthew. Hendersonville, a city of about 15,000 in the state's western mountains, plans to ask residents to begin conserving water next week. The far western part of the state is in a severe drought.
Updates from Cumberland County authorities:
Six teams of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster survivor assistance specialists arrived Friday in Cumberland County. They visited the four emergency shelters to make sure the residents there have registered for assistance. Three teams will return to the shelters on Saturday.
Residents who have applied for FEMA assistance will be contacted first by a FEMA inspector. These inspectors must show their credentials and will not ask for any personal identifying information such as Social Security or bank account numbers. Call law enforcement if you are suspicious of someone claiming to be a FEMA official.
As of 6 p.m. Friday, there were 132 shelter residents at the four sites. The shelter at South View Middle School moved this afternoon back to South View High School because of a failing generator.
Electrical Permit Waivers
For residents who have lost electricity to their primary service, which includes the riser and meter base, the fees associated with this permit will be waived by Cumberland County through Oct. 28. This fee waiver does not remove the requirement for an electrical permit and inspection by the Cumberland County Planning & Inspections Department.
All work associated with the electrical system shall be performed by individuals licensed with the state of North Carolina for electrical contracting. If there are any questions, call the Cumberland County Planning & Inspection Department at 321-6648 or 321-6656.
The North Carolina Attorney General’s office warns residents to watch out for scams following Hurricane Matthew. The warning covers scammers impersonating FEMA and power company officials, insurance adjusters, home repair fraud, charity scams and price gouging.
Residents are urged to report storm-related scams to the Attorney General’s Office at ncdoj.gov or 1-877-5-No-SCAM (919-716-6000 if calling from an out-of-state number). If you suspect someone who shows up at your home is trying to commit fraud, call local law enforcement immediately.