One of the biggest tragedies we don’t hear about unfolding is the aftermath of Hurricane Florence on the Carolinas.
When that storm hit on September 14 it quickly stalled-out, moving just 2 to 3 miles per hour across land.
During that time, the storm dumped 30 inches of rain in places and caused at least five major rivers to flood. It’s figured that thousands of people lost their homes, with thousands more displaced. 51 people died.
The storm’s aftermath was in the media for just two days, then it slowly got pushed back in importance by the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.
I noticed this with shame, as the story that had been leading the news then started coming in second and then it wasn’t even mentioned until 10 minutes into the nightly broadcast.
Once again, nonsense in D.C. had sucked all the air out of the country.
Now – over two weeks after the storm hit – the frustrations of those people aren’t even being mentioned on the networks’ nightly news broadcasts anymore.
It’s figured in just one town that 55 homes were lost, with another 1,500 damaged. Those numbers will surely increase, and all over the region.
One family of four, the Colemans, had flood insurance. Sadly, it only covers the first $100,000 in damages and the family figures they have $230,000 worth of damages.
That’s just not something a family living paycheck-to-paycheck with $36,000 in medical debt and $0 in savings can afford.
Before the storm hit, the father had a job as a prison guard making $2,000 a month. Now they have nothing and expect to move. Thousands more will be just like them: starting over from scratch.
There’s no information on how many apartments were destroyed or damaged.
One couple was spending $900 a month to rent a three-bedroom house, but they figure it’ll cost them another $2,000 to $3,000 to get into a new one, with deposits and first month/last month rent and all. They just don’t have that kind of money.
“The rental market was already depleted in North Carolina,” a vice president for Red Cross said last week. “There will be real transitional housing challenges.”
Most simply won’t be up for that challenge. Thousands of people will probably move away over the coming months. Just a few days ago, 1,900 people were still living in shelters while FEMA was housing another 195 families in hotels.
The damages from the storm are in the range of $17 to $22 billion, though that may be a conservative estimate.
Crop losses are figured to be $1.1 billion, or $700 million higher than 2016’s Hurricane Matthew.
Most of the state’s tobacco and sweet potato crops were wiped out, and North Carolina is the largest producer for those. The latter isn’t covered by crop insurance. An additional $23 million in animal losses occurred, with the state losing 4.1 million chickens and 5,500 hogs.
Nine days after the storm hit, Congress considered drafting a $1.7 billion aid package for the Carolinas.
North Carolina considers this nothing more than a down-payment on the total amount they’ll need.
Nearly two weeks after considering the aid package, however, Congress has done nothing. They’re too busy worrying over their rich and well-off Supreme Court candidate to worry about the plight of thousands of hardworking Americans that now have nothing.
First the storm swept away everything for these people, and now Congress is sweeping the mess under the rug.
That’s not right, but it is what we’ve come to expect from our government.
Barton, Tom. “New estimate provides glimpse of damage to SC homes from Hurricane Florence.” The State. 2 October 2018. https://www.thestate.com/news/state/south-carolina/article219329415.html
Byrne, Kevin. “Resilient North Carolina farmers face substantial recovery after Florence left billions in damage.” Accuweather. 2 October 2018. https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/resilient-north-carolina-farmers-face-substantial-recovery-after-florence-left-billions-in-damage/70006229
Clasen-Kelly, Fred. “Florence damaged thousands of homes in the Carolinas: ‘This has been so stressful’.” Charlotte Observer. 28 September 2018. https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article219112465.html
Domm, Patti. “Hurricane Florence damage estimated at $17 billion to $22 billion and could go higher – Moody’s Analytics.” CNBC. 17 September 2018. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/17/moodys-hurricane-florence-damage-estimated-at-17-to-22-billion.html
“Hurricane Florence.” Wikipedia. 2 October 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Florence
Morris, Amanda. “They Were Rescued During Hurricane Florence. But Now, ‘Everything Is Gone’.” NPR. 2 October 2018. https://www.npr.org/2018/10/02/652349662/they-were-rescued-during-hurricane-florence-but-now-everything-is-gone