Hurricane Irene Aftermath
September 30, 2011 Facebook TwitterMore...

Gov. Beverly Perdue visits Hatteras to talk with hurricane victims
......WITH SLIDE SHOW


By ANNE C. BOWERS



North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue demonstrated her commitment to Hatteras Island and the other hurricane ravaged areas of the eastern part of the state with a planned visit today.  

It’s been almost five weeks since Hurricane Irene battered the northern part of Hatteras Island, and there was still plenty of raw damage for her to see.

Perdue arrived midday by helicopter near the ferry dock in Rodanthe.  She was met by Dare County officials that included county commissioners Allen Burrus and Warren Judge, Dare County manager Bobby Outten, Jed Dixon of the NCDOT Ferry Division, and two FEMA representatives.

It was all hugs as Perdue made her way through the welcoming committee with her entourage that included former Democratic Congressman Bob Etheridge. 

She walked over and personally thanked the men and women working at the ferry docks for doing a great job in such a difficult circumstance. The ferry system has struggled to carry people, supplies, and road repair equipment on and off the island since Hurricane Irene severed the island’s only road on Aug. 27.

The governor, both commissioners, and county manager rode in one vehicle together as they toured the three northern villages.  Their first stop was at the Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Community Center, which has served as the hub of activity since the hurricane hit. 

She immediately shook hands and talked with volunteers for the Baptist Men, a charitable organization which has been providing three meals a day at the center since the Salvation Army pulled out in mid-September. 

Perdue mingled with the locals who were eating lunch, asking each person, “I want to ask you what happened to your house” and listened to each person’s answer.  The issues that villagers had varied from the need to raise a house to prevent future damage, insurance problems, and difficulties with renewing driver’s licenses.

To each answer, she pledged a solution.

The commissioners drove Perdue through all three villages so she could see the severity of the damage first-hand.  Piles of broken lumber, wet insulation and carpet, appliances, and ruined furniture still crowd Highway 12. 

They went as far as the Salvo Day Use Area, just south of the villages, where mountains of already collected rubble stood.  There was so much here, and yet there was so much more to collect

The last stop was at the Really Really Free Market in Waves, which set up shop shortly after Hurricane Irene providing free clothing, personal items, cleaning supplies, and more  to anyone in need on Hatteras Island.. 

Perdue got right in and talked with the people in need face to face.  She listened, asked questions, and promised results.  The people were happy to see her and were eager to talk to her about their dilemmas.

With insurance issues being the topic of many complaints, former Congressman Etheridge promised to make a call quickly to the state insurance commission.

“When people are hurting, they need their money now,” stated Etheridge.

The governor was driven across a single layer of asphalt that covers the once active inlet at Mirlo Beach.  Earlier, she saw the nearly completed bridge over New New Inlet on Pea Island from the air. 

A good amount of political pressure has been leveled against the amount of money the state has spend and is spending on repairing the highways, bridges, and dunes on Hatteras Island.

In response to a question, Perdue said she remains completely committed to “doing what it takes to keep traffic flowing onto the island.  We need help from our federal partners, but I will do what it takes.”

Permanent highway repair options that are being tossed around include beach nourishment, filling the New New Inlet, or making a permanent bridge across it.  Longer causeway-type bridges are also on the table.

There has been no decision made at this time, she said, there have been only discussions with plausible answers that make financial sense.

The governor left the island after the short interaction with the people to tour Aurora, N.C., which was another area hard hit by Hurricane Irene.  Earlier, she was in Bertie County.

“It’s no different there in the other parts of the state,” said Warren Judge about other areas of North Carolina hit hard by Hurricane Irene.

Hurricane Irene was a large storm, measuring about 400 miles across, and it left a wide swath of destruction in eastern North Carolina and all the way up the Eastern Seaboard.

Hurricane Irene was such a large storm, measuring about 400 miles across, and the storm

 

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