After Florence, hard hit Pender County still trying to get on its feet

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— Pender County was one of the hardest hit areas when Hurricane Florence pounded North Carolina six months ago.

When WRAL News arrived at the scene two months after Florence, everything was a mess with debris strewn everywhere.

Residents didn’t know what they were going to do.

Six months later, not much has changed.

Maraskeshi Brown lives in a FEMA trailer but she visits her family’s gutted home, which is just a few miles away every day.

“It’s saddening, but you just have to be hopeful the next six months will be better,” she said.

At the Sand Hill AME church, flood waters filled the sanctuary.

Now, its members are working to get it repaired so their splintered community can gather again for worship.

“Because of the magnitude of the storm, so many people were affected,” said Cathy Lee. “That means it’s not just our community. It was 25 square miles.”

She said 65 feet of water, “covered every dwelling.”

Brown’s house looks exactly the same as it did when she gave us a tour in November. But there is more hope now.

“It’s a hard process, but it’s a learning process,” Brown said. “And you just have to be grateful in the middle of it.”

Claims from Florence

Select a county below to see losses from Hurricane Florence based on claims for residential property tracked by the N.C. Department of Insurance as of November 2018.

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In Wake County, residents filed 4,234 claims for a total of $21,979,855 in losses. That’s about $5,191 per claim, or $20.89 per person based on the population of the county.

Her family just received a permit to rebuild along with the church, thanks to so many volunteers willing to help. Residents in the town believe their community can overcome the crisis.

“I’ve seen so many angels,” Brown said. “You’re going to see some bad with some good, but I’ve seen so much good. That has put a smile back on my face.”