Eastern NC Groups are First "Boots on Ground," Post-Florence
Friday, September 21, 2018
KINSTON, N.C. – After a few days' wait, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are in eastern North Carolina today, assessing the damage done by Hurricane Florence and creating the infrastructure to address the need. But local community groups are already several steps ahead of them.
They include the North Carolina Hurricane Relief Effort and Community Rapid Response Network. The collective is made up of organizations that are no strangers to the people most in need of help. Courtney Patterson is an organizer there, helping to coordinate their effort.
"The reason we're able to reach these people is because we were already in touch with them, prior to this storm,” says Patterson. “And we realized that we needed to come together in solidarity with the people who are affected, and to try and provide and meet their needs."
The Network is made up of people from Eastern NC Triangle, the Environmental Justice Network and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, along with other grassroots groups.
According to Patterson, they began preparing early last week, speaking with community groups from Hurricane Harvey about best practices for helping people. They're seeking financial support, as well as donations of toiletries, household cleaning supplies and roof-patching materials.
Eastern North Carolina is home to some of the highest poverty rates in the state, up to 35 percent, with many minority communities confronting generational poverty. The state average is around 16 percent.
Patterson says he and others were struck by what was missing in the images of President Donald Trump's visit to the coast on Thursday.
"Discrimination is still a factor in what we do,” he notes. “You might have seen one or two black faces there – but see, the people that I know that have been inundated by this storm are black faces, and there was no focus put on any of that."
The risk management agency Moody's Analytics estimates the damage from Hurricane Florence could be as much as $22 billion. Hurricane Matthew cost roughly $6 billion.
get more stories like this via email
LANSING, Mich. - High utility costs are a major burden for Michigan's low-income residents, and a new study says they have an impact on their health…
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A new report shows an effort by investor-owned utilities in the Sunshine State to block the growth of rooftop solar. The …
Health and Wellness
By Troy Pierson / Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. As marijuana becomes more …
SALT LAKE CITY - With rising numbers of people targeted in hate crimes and related violence, a new report analyzes the hate-crime laws in each state…
BOSTON - Educators' unions are calling on the state to support their efforts to ensure in-person learning in the fall keeps students, teachers…
HARTFORD, Conn. - In Connecticut, more than 460,000 people care for close friends or family members who can't manage on their own - and their …
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Millions of Americans soon could find eviction notices on their front doors, but New Mexico renters will not be among them - as …
Health and Wellness
CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire advocates for affordable healthcare access want Congress to lower prescription costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate …