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Southport, N.C. — Beach towns are slowly reopening to residents, but most are still closed to tourists following Hurricane Florence.
Some roads in Brunswick County are completely washed out, including Bethel Road, which is the only way in and out for Southport residents. A path carved out in the brush, built with a few wood planks, is now the only available route.
For the first time since Florence ravaged the coast, residents on Wednesday were able to see their homes, or what is left of them, but getting home turned out to be much harder than leaving.
County and state officials are still advising residents not to return home yet. Fuel and food are limited resources, and residents in Brunswick County must still boil their drinking water.
Until Bethel Road is repaired, Southport firefighters Kendrick Schwarz and Alan Davies are helping residents get in, and they’re feeding 30 residents who rode out the storm and are now trapped. As long as Bethel Road is destroyed, those trapped residents cannot leave the town.
The meals are coming from Southport Baptist Church. Every few hours, volunteers cook hundreds of meals, pass them off to first responders and then start cooking again.
Provisions, a popular Southport dive, is dealing with damage after Hurricane Florence and helping neighbors at the same time.
“We had some wind and our docks got hit pretty bad,” said Billy Smart with Provisions Restaurant.
Amidst the mess, the restaurant is cooking up hamburgers, hot dogs and sandwiches to feed first responders for free.
“We had a lot of officers getting on their radios saying Provisions has a lot of damage, but they have hot food,” Smart said.
Crews in Southport are hoping to get Bethel Road repaired in the next few days. Until then, volunteers are standing by to bring food and water to the trapped residents.