Hurricane Matthew one year later: Recovery slow in Pitt Co.

GRIFTON, N.C. (WNCT) – October 8, 2016 will be a date that many across the East will never forget. Historic flooding in portions of the state followed Hurricane Matthew as it made its way up the coast.

In Pitt County, areas like Greenville, Grifton and Stokes were particularly hard hit. In Greenville, the Tar River crested just below where it reached during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, inundating the Pitt-Greenville Airport and neighborhoods north of the river.

Former Mayor Allen Thomas said he quickly knew the city was in trouble after receiving a phone call shortly after the storm.

“It was from Governor McCrory, and he said ‘Mayor Thomas this is going to be a Floyd level event for Eastern North Carolina and Greenville,” Thomas said.

Recovery for those impacted by the storm has been slow and frustrating.

In Grifton, just getting a grocery store to reopen has been a struggle.

“We were told the water would be rising,” said Grifton resident Mary Newton-Moore. “You hear, but you don’t really comprehend until you see it.”

Newton-Moore has been frustrated by the lack of help Grifton and FEMA have offered those displaced.

“The town of Grifton should have been able to do something for us,” she said.

Elsewhere in the county, help has been promised, but hasn’t arrived yet.

Iriena Becerril-White and her family were flooded in Stokes. Since the storm, Pitt County officials have inspected the house and told them they qualify for assistance.

“It’s not been easy but we’re thankful because we could not have our home because we could have been flooded out,” said Becerril-White.

Her family hasn’t been able to run air conditioning or heat since the storm due to mold and mildew growing underneath the house. The house also received significant roof damage, and now has structural issues as well.

Excluding Greenville, the state has approved the buy-out of 11 homes in Pitt County, including four in Grifton. That still needs to be finalized by FEMA, which county officials hope take place by the end of October.

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