Double dose of disaster: Bladen County family home flooded two hurricanes

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The Beatty family had a roller coaster year in 2016.

Their Bladen County home flooded after Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, and their 11-year-old son needed an emergency transplant not long after the storm hit. 

While Kaleek Beatty’s health is on the mend after receiving a successful kidney transplant, the home the Beattys hoped to rebuild flooded again during Hurricane Florence.

“It is like, how are we going to recover after being hit with Matthew and now Florence? How can we move forward and recover?” Latisha Beatty asked.

The Beattys had to gut their home after Matthew, tearing out sheetrock with hopes of salvaging the house so Kaleek could have a safe and comfortable place to recover.

“After we did that, and ran out of money, the doctors didn’t feel it was safe for him to stay there due to mold infestation,” Latisha said. “We all moved into a single wide trailer, hoping there was still a chance we could rebuild at some point.”

On Wednesday, WECT was with the Beattys as they looked at their home for the first time after water from the Black River receded.

“When you drive up here, you think of all the memories you have had here,” Latisha said. “Children brought home from the hospital, first steps, birthday parties, and then you look and see Mother Nature has taken it all away.”

The stench of mold and mildew filled the air as the Beattys unlocked their home.

“Oh God, it’s worse. Look at the water line. It’s higher than Matthew, must be 7 feet high,” Latisha said as she surveyed the house. “Look, there are tree branches and limbs all over the place. This is awful.” 

After seeing the home on which they spent their live savings be destroyed by a second storm, the Beattys feel certain they will never be able to return. 

“My children ask, ‘Are we ever going to have another home of our own?'” Latisha said. “It’s hard to tell them, ‘Mommy just doesn’t know.’

“I just want a home for my children to feel safe and comfortable.”

After Matthew, the Beattys have been waiting for the home to be bought by FEMA.

“We were told it would be bought out at the appraised value before the storm, so we have just been sitting in limbo before we go buy something else,” Latisha said. 

Even after this double whammy, the family has sympathy for those going through the wrath of a hurricane for the first time. 

“Even though we were hit twice, I feel for those who were hit for the first time because we know what they are going through,” Latisha said. “It’s not a good feeling, but we believe our faith will get us through and to everyone else, I believe there will be blessings for all on the other side of this.” 

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