DURHAM, NC – In an effort the help the victims of Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina, the North Carolina Central University (NCCU) Department of Athletics has teamed up with the NCCU Men’s Achievement Center, the NCCU Durham Alumni Chapter and ITSDOABLE, INC., in collecting item such as bottled water/beverages, nonperishable food items and toiletries during homecoming weekend activities.
Donations will be accepted Friday through Monday at designated collection locations – Friday at the entrance of McDougald-McLendon Arena during the NCCU homecoming step show, Saturday at entrances to O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium during the football game (gates open at 11 a.m./kickoff at 2 p.m.), and Sunday and Monday in front of McDougald-McLendon Arena.
Hotel guests are encouraged to gather any unused toiletry items when checking out and deliver them to the collection points on campus.
Hurricane Matthew, which left a trail of destruction up the East Coast of North Carolina after killing hundreds in Haiti, came stealthily to devastate North Carolina. The heavy downpours after the winds subsided swiftly causing river basins far from the Atlantic Ocean to overflow. Seventeen have died in flooding, the water is still rising to historic levels, and new evacuations were being ordered earlier this week.
The disaster is leaving a particularly deep scar across a part of inland North Carolina that was already the most economically vulnerable part of the state. More than 4,000 people have been forced from their homes into hastily assembled shelters at high schools and recreation centers. Many lack flood insurance, health insurance or stable employment.
Officials in this corridor of farmland and struggling post-manufacturing towns along Interstate 95 are bracing for a protracted recovery where displaced people will be without permanent homes for months or longer. Many will depend heavily on assistance from aid groups and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But FEMA spokesman Rafael Lemaitre said the agency can provide only a partial solution, offering emergency housing such as trailers or providing temporary rental assistance.
The most severe flooding stretches across the eastern third of North Carolina, where more than 2,000 have been rescued by boat, helicopter and large military cargo trucks. Schools in 43 of North Carolina’s 100 counties have canceled classes — including in all seven of the counties with the highest poverty rates. Across the hard-hit region, roughly 50 percent of households are in liquid asset poverty, according to data tracked by the Corporation for Enterprise Development, meaning they don’t have enough savings to handle short-term expenses after a crisis.
In some flooded communities, like Lumberton, the disaster also struck along racial lines: A white area of town was preserved, while a lower-lying African American part now stands in several feet of water. That disparity, also seen in some North Carolina towns after 1999 flooding from Hurricane Floyd, is the legacy of geographic segregation in which blacks were pushed toward less desirable — and often lower-lying — land. But in other sections of the state, emergency officials say, a diverse group of people have been pushed from their homes.
President Obama signed a disaster declaration that provides additional federal aid to 13 counties. At a campaign event for Hillary Clinton in Greensboro, Obama said such crises transcend politics. “We’ve been making sure the local and state officials all have what they need to recover and rebuild,” he said. “It’s a reminder of what we do here in America, which is we have to look out for one another no matter what.”
Photos courtesy of nymag.com