LUMBERTON, N.C. It’s been a long week of waiting and wondering for North Carolina residents. Hurricane Matthew brought catastrophic flooding to Eastern North Carolina claiming 20 lives, leaving residents displaced and communities underwater.Gov. Pat McCrory has been traveling the state to meet the citizens affected by the natural disaster and evaluate the damage caused by the rising river waters. The governor announced Thursday that the federal government has approved $5 million of early release federal highway funds for emergency repairs in North Carolina. Since the Expedited Major Disaster Declaration on October 10, the federal government has already disbursed $2.6 million to disaster survivors. To date, more than 14,000 North Carolinians have already registered for the assistance. A total of 17 counties are under a disaster declaration, after Sampson, Harnett and Greene counties were added to the list overnight. The Town of Lumberton in Robeson County remains one of the hardest hit counties in the state.”We saw the best of North Carolina of on our tour of Robeson County. I saw people who are resilient; people who are caring; people who are risking their life to save other people. I saw volunteers hundreds – who are spending hours upon hours helping those in need and I also saw people who are hurting,” said McCrory. “People who have no idea what their life will be like today, tomorrow, next week, even next month or year. But I did see the best of North Carolina — guards, troops, everyone working together.”The governor continued to urge those impacted to stay out of the flooded waters, and announced that officials were working with local, state and federal partners to find solutions for those who are currently in temporary shelters. There are currently six shelters established in Robeson County alone. Downtown Lumberton and so many homes remain underwater.The state has rushed emergency personnel and resources to Robeson County. More than 140 members of the North Carolina National Guard and 110 addition law enforcement officers have been dispatched to the county to assist with the recovery efforts. More than 600 rescues have been performed in Robeson county, 50 of which occurred Tuesday night alone. The state has sent more than 12 truckloads of supplies to Robeson County, including food, water, children supplies, cots, blankets and medical supplies. Wal-Mart is providing aid by shipping 30 day supplies of pharmaceuticals to the shelters. Robeson County is one of several counties in North Carolina suffering from the effects of Hurricane Matthew. Counties like Lenoir, Edgecombe, Pitt, Wayne, Bladen and Pender have also dealt with evacuations, rescues, shelter openings and school closings, rising waters and power outages. At the beginning of the week, power outages for North Carolinians stood at 900,000, but linemen have worked tirelessly to bring the number of outages down to 55,000 as of today with 12,000 of those outages are Robeson County. Four of six shelters in Robeson County have power and power at Southeast Regional Medical Center, the local hospital, has been restored. Statewide there have been a total of 2,300 rescues, 1,083 members of the National Guard deployed, 63 emergency vehicles activated, 33 school systems closed and 3,400 people living in shelters. There have been 20 storm-related deaths across the state, but none in the last 24 hours. In the state, 32 counties were approved for federal funding to help augment the costs of responding to the storm, and 14 counties where homeowners and renters can apply for federal assistance to repair or rebuild damaged homes.On Tuesday, the governor activated the state’s Hurricane Matthew Relief Fund to support long-term recovery efforts in partnership with the United Way of North Carolina. People or organizations that want to help ensure North Carolina recovers can visit NCdisasterrelief.org or text NCRECOVERS to 30306.
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