Wilmington residents can’t get home, sometimes can’t even stay in one shelter

September 17, 2018

For Wilmington residents, there’s no way in or out, and they are simply looking for slivers of hope amid the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence.

After enduring 23.5 inches of rain since Thursday, Sunday brought even more rain. But a Domino’s opened, and even after waiting at the drive-thru with 30 other cars, people found pizza at the end of the line.

The wait was much longer for gas at the first Costco to reopen in Wilmington, but for too many, the end of this line left them feeling empty.

“We’ve been waiting for four hours. We’ve seen people, like, ready to get in fights. It’s been like mayhem,” Jonathan Herman said.

New Hanover County sent hundreds of evacuees to Raleigh before Florence hit. Even if they want to go home now, they can’t.

“You cannot get back to New Hanover County and the city of Wilmington, and if you did get back, you’d likely find yourself with no power. Businesses are not operating,” New Hanover County Manager Chris Coudriet said. “It may be inconvenient, but you are safe and secure where you are.”

Even the evacuees closer to home haven’t been able to stay in a single shelter. The county has consolidated five shelters down to two, and 1,300 people were moved Sunday into Hoggard High School.

Ronald Davis of Carolina Beach said Hoggard High would be his third shelter.

“It’s difficult, especially with a broke-up left leg,” Davis said.

First responders have descended on the area to try to help return Wilmington to normal.

“Search and rescue is going on roads that are blocked, so emergency crews can’t get in and out. Electricity is a problem. This could go on for weeks,” Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said. “Wilmington’s been hit hard.”

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