Florence damages homes still being rebuilt after Hurricane Matthew

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In Cumberland County, residents returned home Thursday to survey the damage left behind after floodwaters finally began to recede.

Walter and Nancy Hair drove down the bumpy, flooded toad to see what was left of their mobile home, perched just 150 feet from the banks of the Little River.

“My floor is all soggy. My walls are bowing already,” Walter Hair said. “This is the worst I’ve ever seen it here.”

The Hairs couldn’t get to their home two days ago because the river had flooded their entire neighborhood. Now, they’re working to remove the few items that can be salvaged from the memories made in their home for 27 years.

“It’s devastating,” Walter Hair said. “I can’t stand no more floods.”

For the Hairs, the flooding and loss are familiar. Hurricane Matthew hit their home in 2016, but they said Florence was worse.

A muddy mess in their yard marked the place where Walter Hair’s shed used to be. On Thursday, the shed was more than 100 yards down the road.

Neighbor Stephen Thomas lost everything. He too was a victim of Hurricane Matthew and had just finished making repairs.

“In the house, floors are buckled, the corner walls are buckled, the refrigerator is laying on the floor. Everything is just destroyed,” Thomas said. “Brand new cabinets just installed. I spent $20,000 fixing it and repairing it and it’s all gone.”

So fast and furious was the Little River’s rise that neighbors are just glad they survived. Now, tough decisions must be made about whether to rebuild again to relocate.

“You made it out alive, but it still don’t help with the hurt you feel inside,” Thomas said.

“It’ll change your mind about living on the water,” Walter Hair said.