Lumberton residents to recovery committee: Help us go home

Much of Lumberton was flooded by Hurricane Matthew. (WNCN)

LUMBERTON, N.C. (WNCN) — A crowd packed the workforce development building at Robeson Community College to find out what assistance is coming after Hurricane Matthew’s flooding and explain what they need.

Monique Sessoms didn’t mince words.

“We are mad as hell, and we need answers,” she said. “We got some in today, but we still need more answers.”

Sessoms returned to her home in Lumberton about a week ago, after nearly a month as an evacuee.

A crew removed debris along her street Tuesday afternoon, but Sessoms says most of the people who live in the neighborhood still haven’t made it home.

“The people that’s in the hotels and stuff, they don’t want to be there, they want to go home,” she said.

“The question we keep asking is: What is keeping you from going home?” asked FEMA’s Elizabeth Turner.

The recovery committee and the community attendees discussed steps toward making that happen, but acknowledged that in some cases it can’t happen.

“The local government officials and communities are going to really have to make some tough decisions, whether you rebuild or do you rehabilitate that home, or look at other areas,” said Thomas Stith, the governor’s chief of staff.

This week, Gov. Pat McCrory requested more than $1 billion in supplemental federal assistance, but that has limitations as well.

“We are not set up, as FEMA, to make people whole,” Turner said. “But we are set up to bring programs and assistance, and do it quickly.”

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