Hurricane Florence Leaves North Carolina Residents Trapped on Roofs

Residents wade through deep floodwater to retrieve belongings from the Trent Court public housing apartments after the Neuse River went over its banks during Hurricane Florence September 13, 2018 in New Bern, United States. Coastal cities in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are under evacuation orders as the Category …
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The coastal town of New Bern has been hit especially hard by the fury of Hurricane Florence, leaving many citizens stranded atop their houses and waiting for rescue.

New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw appeared on Good Morning America (GMA) to talk about the struggles of his people. “It’s very unsafe,” he said, “I immediately spoke with the police chief and we decided we need a 24-hour curfew. It’s just a very, very dangerous situation right now for New Bern.”

Things are especially bad for those who ignored warnings as the storm approached. Via telephone, New Bern resident George Zaytoun told GMA that he stayed home to help others once the storm had passed, but he now regrets that decision. “I think we kind of let our guards down,” he said. “In hindsight, yes, I would have probably gotten out of here.”

Zaytoun describes a grim scenario: “It’s like a bomb has gone off here,” he said. “Everything around us is underwater.”

Craven County spokeswoman Amber Parker agreed when she spoke to ABC News on Friday morning: “I would say certain areas of New Bern are very desperate,” she said. “There are people that can be trapped in water, in vehicles, on roofs. That’s just the situation for anyone.”

Others are already offering what help they can. Companies like U-Haul and Airbnb are providing free resources for those trying to escape the storm. Meanwhile, social media have been flooded with accounts of the storm’s devastation — including one man who is literally standing up to Florence–or, as he calls it, “just being free and American”:

Other reports are distinctly less humorous:

FOX Business reports that the first deaths have already been counted, and AFP is adding to the tally:

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency and advised citizens to “get to higher floors” and “hunker down” while waiting for rescue. “Help will come to you if you can let us know where you are,” he said, adding, “[I] would have rather everybody leave so that we wouldn’t be faced with these situations.”

Nevertheless, he believes things will work out in the end. “We are a hardy bunch, we are resilient, we can get through this,” he told GMA. “We’re going to work hard to make sure people have the resources they need to get through the storm.”

On Friday morning, President Trump praised those who are risking their lives to help those in need. “Incredible job being done by FEMA, First Responders, Law Enforcement and all,” he tweeted. “Thank you!”


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