The longest week: Carolinas worn out by Florence

Christopher Davidson
September 21, 2018

Hurricane Florence and its aftermath are still taking a toll on the Carolinas, where residents have endured an agonizing week of violent winds, torrential rain, widespread flooding, power outages and death.

With the remnants of Florence finally out to sea and skies bright over rivers still swelling with muddy water, U.S. President Donald Trump visited the disaster zone, riding through soggy neighbourhoods and helping pass out warm meals at a church in the hard-hit coastal town of New Bern. "We'll have it all taken care of".

President Donald Trump is handing out warm meals and a bit of encouragement to some North Carolinians recovering from Hurricane Florence.

With Wilmington still mostly an island surrounded by Hurricane Florence's floodwaters and people waiting for hours for handouts of necessities like food, North Carolina's governor is pleading with thousands of evacuees to be patient and not return home just yet.

Trump later travelled to Conway, South Carolina, where more flooding is expected still.

Thousands of others around the state waited in shelters for the all-clear. "I'm asking you, sir, for your help every step of the way". Trump said 1.6 million meals have been provided in North Carolina and another 400,000 are ready for victims in SC.

Cooper warned that the flooding is far from over and will get worse in places.

"I'm focusing on this disaster at hand", he said.

"At this time no safe, stable or reliable route exists for the public to get to and from Wilmington", the NCDOT stated.

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He noted that he visited North Carolina earlier in the day to survey other damage caused by Florence.

Florence has left at least 36 people dead, including 27 in North Carolina, eight in SC and one in Virginia, after 36 inches of rain fell in the area. And waste from those hog farms has been leaking into floodwaters.

He asked if everyone was OK, then said it was "going to be OK".

Officials previously had estimated that about 1.7 million chickens had drowned and that the number of potential hog deaths was unknown. A woman blew a whistle each time drivers had to pull forward. An olive-drab military forklift moved around huge pallets loaded with supplies.

"It's been pretty bad", said Echavarrieta, 34, his voice breaking.

At his first stop in Cherry Point, North Carolina, Trump participated in a hurricane briefing, where he praised all agencies involved in recovery efforts, calling Florence the most powerful hurricane to hit the Carolinas.

Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin said it was unclear if the bridge was threatened.

The President also pledged to help "everybody" impacted by the "epic" storm, saying: 'Whatever we have to do at the federal level, we will be there'.

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