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Spring Lake, N.C. — Many Cumberland County residents are still trying to recover from Hurricane Florence, which hit last month, and Hurricane Matthew, which hit two years ago.
Two houses on Brinkley Drive in Spring Lake used to be home to three generations of the Browning family, until Hurricane Florence came storming through the neighborhood.
“This is my mother’s home, and I live here with her, and my niece lives across the street,” said Mary Browning. “It’s just sad because she would stand at the fence and say, ‘I want to go to Grandma’s house.’ Now she has no home.”
Floodwater from the Little River severely damaged nine homes on the block. Families have spent the past week sorting through what used to be pieces of their lives.
Cindy Browning had to wade through water to save her mother.
“I went in and waded in water up to the porch,” she said. “It was up to my neck trying to get in the house. I got in the door, and she was trying to get everything off the porch, crying, everything in the house floating around.”
Hurricane Michael could bring more flooding to the area.
“How much more can we take?” Cindy Browning said. “The only thing left to take is the house itself because the house is gutted to the ceiling.”
Cumberland County has closed its last storm shelter at Smith Recreation Center. There were 25 people still in need of a place to stay and countless more in need of emotional support after losing everything.
“We’ve got out case workers talking to people,” said Dave Skutnik with American Red Cross. “We still have disaster mental health experts that are here, and they’re going to help people kind of deal with that emotional difficulty of another storm coming through the area so quickly.”
Even though the Smith Recreation Center shelter has closed, the Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Relief Center is open at the Department of Social Services on Ramsey Street.
The Red Cross is helping the 25 people find a place to stay, and the county is monitoring the storm to determine if it will need to re-open a shelter.