7 Months After Matthew: Water Receded But Emotions Still High in Lumberton

Clean-Up and Recovery Continues in Lumberton

LUMBERTON, N.C. – Governor Roy Cooper says North Carolina will only get one percent of the federal funding requested to rebuild after Hurricane Matthew hit last October.

"I've invited the President and congressional leaders to come to North Carolina to see firsthand the problems that people are facing, getting into affordable housing, getting their businesses back,” said Cooper.

The Governor requested more than $900 million, and the federal government approved only about $6 million dollars. 

It has been seven months, but some of the hardest hit areas in our state are still suffering from the aftermath. The people of Lumberton have counted every single day since the flood waters destroyed homes, businesses, and churches in their city.

Although the flood waters have receded, for this community, it feels like it happened yesterday.

“I don't know how you move forward...it's tough,” said Rhonda Bruce, whose home in Robeson County was destroyed, “Even after 7 months it's still hard to talk about it.”

“Very few people have been able to come home and rebuild their lives,” said Pastor Rick Foreman with West Lumberton Baptist Church.

On Wednesday, his congregation celebrated a midweek service for the first time on the church's campus, but it will still be another month and a half before they can celebrate in the actual church.

Just across the street, in a neighborhood with 70 to 80 homes, only a handful of them are occupied.

“if you drive through these streets, you see, it's just so desolate. It's an eerie-like feeling sometimes that so many people are gone,” said Foreman.

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City Manager Wayne Horn thinks many people who lived here seven month ago won't return.

“There's going to be an impact out there. You're going to lose some of your housing stock. The community will return but it will be a little change,” he said.

Horn said there are still 50 to 60 families staying in hotels & motels, and that’s in Lumberton alone.

Despite the hardships, the serious lack of funding, and the long road ahead, the people here say there’s still hope.


“It's all about Him,” said Gregory Bruce, “We’re going to make it.”

On May 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the church will hold a distribution event to reach out to the community. They will have truckloads of supplies to give away: food, household items, clothes, and toys, all to help so many people who still have almost nothing.

The church’s address is 2320 W 5th Street, Lumberton, N.C.

Copyright 2017 WFMY


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