Six months after Florence, Jones County town still cleaning up, waiting for help

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— In the six months since Hurricane Florence hit eastern North Carolina, Tamra Church has been doing little more than cleaning up.

“It takes a long time to clean up after a flood I’m finding,” she said standing in front of her home on Main Street in Pollocksville.

Many homes in the area are still uninhabitable. The Trent River rose quickly here; the recovery here is much slower.

“A lot of these faith-based groups have been coming into town,” Church said of the workers behind her. “The first were disaster relief. It’s a blessing. It’s been a blessing for all of us.”

The scars of hurricanes past are still visible along Main Street. Wooden window shutters are painted with names like Bertha, Fran and Floyd. But the deep wounds from Hurricane Florence have yet to heal.

Chris and Toni Butters once lived in a 2,500-square-foot home. Now they live in a 240-square-foot FEMA trailer parked in their backyard.

“It beats having a tent in your yard and hauling buckets of water in,” said Chris leaning against his screen door.

Pollocksville still recovering after Florence

Toni points out the living arrangements without having to leave the spot she stands in: “This is our bedroom, our living room, our kitchen, and back there is the bathroom and extra bunks.”

The couple expects FEMA will offer them a buyout. Until then, they are making do with what they have.

“We’re grateful for what we got, I mean, a lot of people don’t have anything,” Chris said.

The one thing most people in the small Jones County town need is help.

“A lot of people need the help,” Church said, “but the help is spread thin, resources are spread thin, so it’s just a long process.”