NC community still without power, water after Florence celebrate as toilets, showers arrive

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As Hurricane Michael approaches North Carolina, there are still communities where families cannot move back home because of damage inflicted by Hurricane Florence.

The Whitestocking community in Pender County does not have electricity or running water, and many homes are condemned. On Wednesday, portable toilets and showers arrived to deliver a little relief.

“Our portable potties have come in, thank God,” said Robert Jordan, head trustee at a local church. “Our showers have arrived. Thank God they are functional now.”

Sand Hill AME Church has become a central location in Whitestocking for resources, hot meals, and community gathering.

After Wednesday, residents said they were told the Red Cross would no longer deliver meals to Whitestocking.

“For hot meals, they have stopped as of today,” Jordan said. “Hot meals have stopped. We are reaching out to our meal vendors. If you could come our way and get a few meals down to us, it would be great. We are in desperate need of that.”

WECT reached out James Jarvis with the American Red Cross to learn why the organization is stopping hot meal service to Whitestocking.

His response:

As you know, the American Red Cross and our community partners have supported our community before, during, and after Hurricane Florence made landfall almost a month ago. As communities transition further into the recovery process, their needs are reassessed and scaled to match appropriately. Several indicators such as the restoration of power, the opening and access of roadways, the availability of local stores being open and stocked, input from our Emergency Management partners, and a decline in requests for meals have led to the decision to stop mobile feeding. We will continue to provide meals for all residents in our emergency shelters.”

WECT reached out to Duke Energy Progress to find out when power would be restored to Whitestocking. The community is not listed on Duke Energy’s outage map as not having electricity service.

“We have restored power to all areas that have been able to receive it,” said Catherine Butler, spokesperson with Duke Energy. But in some areas, “the infrastructure is destroyed to the point where it has to be rebuilt…or the meter boxes are also destroyed.”

We are waiting to hear specifics from Duke Energy as to when Whitestocking infrastructure might be rebuilt to allow energy to be restored.

Maraskeshi Brown has lived in town for all of her 26 years.

“Everything is totaled, every single thing,” Brown said. “From clothes to shoes to TVs, couches, everything is totaled. Unfortunately we couldn’t save anything. It took us a good two weeks to even get back in here so by the time we got in here, everything was molded. Everything was gone.”

Brown was busy gutting the house with her grandma on Wednesday afternoon.

“It never registered in my mind that I would have no house this far (after the storm),” said Brown. The floodwaters from Hurricane Florence rose above her family’s roof up to the tip of the satellite dish.

“There’s no electricity, no water,” Brown said. “We are grateful enough to have Porta-Potties. They just installed them with hot showers.”

With the approach of Hurricane Michael, Brown is dreading the impacts.

“It makes you feel hopeless, of course, but just saying prayers,” Brown said. “I just hope that Michael decides to come and blow a couple things and go about his business. I hope he doesn’t stay as long as Florence did, and cause such a catastrophe because this is such a catastrophe. The whole neighborhood is just washed out and we just really hope and pray it’s not another washout this time with Michael.”

Drive through Whitestocking and you will see large piles of people’s belongings stretching along the road.

If you would like to help, residents are asking for the following: volunteers, sheet rock, plywood, windows, doors, and storage containers. You can deliver donations to Sand Hill AME Church.

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