Family moves to NC to escape Katrina, loses everything in Matthew

arran lakes fayetteville


FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Neighbors in a storm-ravaged Fayetteville community are working to put together the pieces of their lives, one small step at a time.

Arran Lakes neighborhood felt the worst of Hurricane Matthew’s wrath.

Creeks Edge apartments sustained significant flood damage due to its proximity to the creek that runs behind the subdivision.

Deandrea and Nicolette Graham (Nate Rodgers/CBS North Carolina)
Deandrea and Nicolette Graham (Nate Rodgers/CBS North Carolina)

“It’s heart-wrenching for me because all of its gone it was nothing I could save,” said storm victim Deandrea Graham.

Piles of debris scattered across the neighborhood.

Furniture, construction materials and flooded vehicles litter the side of the road.

A total of 130 families were forced out of their homes by raging flood waters.

“The only thing we had left after this storm was the clothes on our back,” Nicolette Graham said.

Nicolette Graham and her mom have lived in Creeks Edge apartments since 2006.

They arrived in Fayetteville hoping to leave behind the nightmare they faced in Biloxi, Mississippi when Hurricane Katrina tore through the region.

“After Katrina we just didn’t wanna rebuild, process was taking too long, so we moved up here to lose everything in a storm that wasn’t as bad as Katrina,” Nicolette Graham said.

Monday, workers were out removing debris from front yards.

Construction crews are gutting apartments, which took in at least three-feet of water

“They actually went and took all the dry wall down, about chest high and they’re checking for mold,” Nicolette Graham said.

FEMA is also stepping in to help but Deandrea Graham said it isn’t enough.

The Grahams received a check from FEMA for $1,200.

“Is $1,200 enough? No. It’s enough for you to get into another apartment, true enough,” Deandrea Graham said. “But what about the contents of the apartment, bed, sofa? Everything’s gotta be replaced.”

The Grahams said their renters insurance won’t cover flood damage.

Up until recently, they were staying at a nearby hotel, but the recurring cost became too great.

As crews continue to remove debris, its unknown how long remodeling will take and when residents will be back inside.

“Most help we’re getting is family, friends, community, so we’re waiting to see if FEMA will release more funds or what they’re gonna do,” Nicolette Graham said.

The City of Fayetteville is focusing on removing construction materials before moving on to downed trees.

The City said could take several weeks to complete debris removal.

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