Food Distribution Begins In An Isolated Wilmington
WILMINGTON — Power is still out and most stores are still closed in the parts of southeastern North Carolina hardest hit by Hurricane Florence. Emergency food distributions began Tuesday in several counties, including the coastal county of New Hanover.
A double line of cars started forming more than an hour early as Civil Air Patrol volunteers moved food and water into place on North Second Street, near Cape Fear Community College. Wilmington has been largely cut off from the rest of the state by flooding for several days.
Local resident Vicky Madison said she hasn't been able to buy food.
“All the businesses are closed down,” Madison said. “You can't go anywhere to get food. You can't even use an ATM for cash. You have to drive all around town — it’s just been an experience. I've never been through a hurricane like this before in my life.”
Madison learned about the drop-off through a city alert on her mobile phone. She carpooled with her neighbor Denise Matthews.
“We're still without power, and you know it's kind of hard getting to get the extra accessories that you need, so that's why we're here,” Matthews said. She said her top priority is getting water from the distribution center.
Matthews said in her neighborhood, there are trees and power lines down.
“I mean, it’s really bad,” she said.
Still, she said, she's glad to be alive. At least 26 people have died around the state, including three in Wilmington.
FEMA set up "points of distribution," or PODS, at two other locations in Wilmington — on the north and south sides of the city. They’re handing out Meals Ready to Eat, or MREs, as well as bottled water and tarps.
Todd Tremain was another resident who came an hour early. For him, storm damage has been the big thing.
“I need a tarp for the roof,” he said. “I lost a lot of shingles, and it's all wet inside the house. That rain this morning didn't help.”
A convoy of National Guard trucks brought the supplies to Wilmington from Fort Bragg. It took helicopter airlifts to reach surrounding counties that also were hard hit. Cooper said more supplies will be delivered by sea Wednesday to local ports.
Officials say they have enough food and water to serve 60,000 people for four days.