AP NEWS

Brunswick County residents struggle to recover from Hurricane Florence

November 13, 2018

People in one Leland community were cleaning up on Sept. 26, 2018, nearly two weeks after Hurricane Florence slammed the North Carolina coast with days of heavy rain.

Hurricane Florence significantly damaged areas of Brunswick County and many residents are still struggling to recover. One of the hardest hit areas was Stoney Creek Plantation Neighborhood in Leland where 44 homes were flooded.

Some occupants have lost hope for recovering their home. Steve Hubbard is one of them.

The Hubbard family has lived in Leland since 2015 and survived three natural disasters. Hurricane Florence was the first time they saw flooding of this magnitude.

After Hurricane Florence, the Hubbard family’s belongings were destroyed. Steve Hubbard said that he lost 41 years of marriage and a lifetime of memories.

″...As a family we have decided to leave this event behind us and move on,” Hubbard said.

He says he has made peace with the fact that his home in Brunswick County, will cost too much to repair. The Hubbard family is selling the home as is despite it’s uninhabitable conditions.

“It’s just devastating, that’s all I can say,” Hubbard said.

The Hubbard’s are not the only family who faced devastating loses. Steve Hubbard said that Hurricane Florence was a life-changing event for many.

Lisa Marion also lives in Leland and says that water reached the windows on the first floor of her home during the natural disaster.

“We had to gut everything,” Marion said.

Lisa and her husband are attempting to recover their damaged home after realizing that government assistance may take years to come.

“We’re waiting to see if we’re going to get a buyout from the government,” Marion said. “I guess that process could take two years, and we can’t wait that long.”

For now, Lisa and her husband are living in a camper in their driveway.

The couple is trying to make their situation work, but Steve Hubbard believes that the natural disaster may have been a sign from god.

“There’s just times in your life when you have to say okay lord you’re moving me,” he said. “Open the path for me,”

But that new path has not come without it’s emotional tolls.

“I only cry about it once or twice a day now,” Hubbard said.

Like Hubbard and Marion, many Brunswick County residents are trying to piece together their lives after Hurricane Florence.

Thus far, 20.4 million dollars of FEMA funding has gone to Brunswick County. And, 6.5 million dollars of that money has gone towards individual assistance for 1,700 families to help them repair their homes.

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