After causing tremendous damage to the southern coast of Haiti and other countries in the Caribbean, Hurricane Matthew unleashed brutal winds and torrential rains upon areas of Florida to North Carolina. Throughout eastern North Carolina, hurricane survivors continue to face the turmoil of all that was lost, and all that must now be done in order to rebuild.
After rainfalls of up to 16 inches in some places, dams overflowed into residential areas, causing an average of 3-5 foot floods in people’s homes for days, and damaging many churches as well.
November 6, 2016: Relief in Lumberton
Residents in the city of Lumberton, North Carolina, still face many hardships due to the impact of Hurricane Matthew in early October. To ease the distress of survivors, our team of relief volunteers set out, working alongside other organizations such as FEMA, the American Red Cross, and United Way. Over 50 Tzu Chi volunteers from DC, Charlotte, and Raleigh, arrived in North Carolina, some of which having travelled up to six hours to be able to participate in the disaster relief distribution in Lumberton. The distribution provided $120,000, as well as other important materials, to 300 families.
Many of the families who attended the relief distribution still have much to do in terms of reparations to their homes, but, unfortunately, did not have the funds or materials to do so. By personally handing out cash cards, our volunteers hope to make a difference. Furthermore, to show how deeply appreciated aid from the American Red Cross has been, and also hoping to help hurricane survivors get back on their feet, a Tzu Chi volunteer, Frank Chen, personally donated power tools for the people of North Carolina. With this help, our volunteers not only provided cash cards, but also donated 20 power tools.
Lumberton officer, Belinda Locklear, a relief recipient at our distribution event, told us about her resolution to help the community recover from Hurricane Matthew.
Both Belinda’s home as well as her mother’s had been severely damaged by the hurricane, and she expressed her heartfelt gratitude when she received disaster aid at the distribution. Tzu Chi volunteers were glad to be able to offer a helping hand.
We hope that through compassionate relief, financial assistance, and the donation of power tools, we can enable Lumberton residents pull through and start anew after this disaster.
October 28th-30th, 2016: Assessment
Our volunteers walked along the streets – strewn with people’s furniture, bits of their homes, their memories – for their first assessment in North Carolina on the weekend of October 28th. Volunteers from our DC chapter assembled in undertaking this assessment with bundles of power tools ready and waiting.
With people’s homes in shambles, a donation of 14 professional power tools were able to make a difference in the lives of some Hurricane Matthew survivors, helping in the restoration of not only their homes, but some peace and order as well.
Having met with the American Red Cross officials, church clergy members, and community leaders, our volunteers were able to gain a comprehensive understanding of the communities in the most severe need of disaster relief. Relief efforts will be focused towards especially vulnerable areas that are not eligible for aid from FEMA or other government disaster relief programs.
Through our volunteers’ thorough assessment and planning, a distribution was able to be planned for this upcoming weekend in North Carolina for Hurricane Matthew survivors.