RALEIGH — The State Emergency Response Team continues to coordinate the ongoing recovery efforts of local, state and federal agencies throughout the counties affected by Hurricane Matthew.
According to the predictive analysis of North Carolina Emergency Management officials, all rivers are forecast to be below flood stage by Oct.24, with Greenville, Tarboro and Goldsboro returning to normal by Thursday, Oct. 20. There is still major flooding in four areas: the Tar River at Greenville, Neuse River near Goldsboro, Neuse River at Kinston and the Neuse River at Fort Barnwell.
The number of storm-related deaths remains at 26.
Statewide power outages continue to drop, down to 2,521 this afternoon from a peak of more than 800,000 last Sunday. More than half of these outages are located in Robeson County.
There are currently 32 shelters open, assisting a population of 2,179 people.
There have been 2,336 water rescues to date.
More than 570 roads remain closed as of Sunday morning. Motorists are reminded not to rely on GPS devices for road closure and detour information. Instead, call 5-1-1, download the ReadyNC app or visit ReadyNC.org for the latest road closure updates.
The following recovery efforts are underway:
— Approximately 184 State Troopers are actively engaged in response and recovery efforts across the eastern part of the state and working in tandem with Wildlife Resource Officers, National Guard, North Carolina Department of Transportation, and local law enforcement and first responders.
— Troopers are also escorting much needed recovery supplies, such as food and water, to flood-impacted areas. Patrol members are actively looking for those individuals who are in distress and in need of immediate assistance. Troopers are checking all abandoned vehicles and ensuring that the vehicles are unoccupied.
— The North Carolina National Guard continues to assist with disaster response efforts, with 1,079 members currently activated. The North Carolina National Guard transported a large commercial generator overnight to the Robeson County water treatment plant, and Guard engineers established pumping operations with local officials in Princeville. This effort is pumping more than 20 million gallons of floodwater a day back into the Tar River.
— North Carolina National Guard security forces have been working closely with local law enforcement in multiple counties.
— North Carolina National Guard engineers in Cumberland, Moore and Sampson counties have been supporting the North Carolina Department of Transportation with road clearing and hasty repairs.
— An NCWaterWARN mutual aid team drawn from the water and waste water industry is repairing a regional wastewater pump station in Fairmont. Hurricane Matthew inundated the pump station and washed away two force mains, causing waste water to discharge directly into Old Field Swamp. The NCWaterWARN team will replace and reconnect more than 300 feet of force main, ending the discharge into Old Field Swamp.
— A hot meal waiver has been approved in all 100 counties, meaning that food stamps may now be used to purchase hot food for immediate consumption (such as rotisserie chicken or hot dogs). Authorized Electronic Benefits (EBT) retailers have been notified of this change. The waiver will continue through Nov. 14, 2016.
— Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) has been approved for 23 counties. This will assist those who are unemployed due to the disaster and may not qualify for regular unemployment assistance.
— State emergency officials continue to work with FEMA to develop temporary housing solutions for those affected by the storm. There have been 33,478 applications received for Individual Assistance and more than $12.4 million has been approved. There are more than 500 FEMA inspectors currently assessing damage throughout the flooded areas. More inspectors ensure more damage assessments can take place. Damage assessments determine how much federal funding can be awarded to a given area.
— Four Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) opened over the weekend: two in Nash County, one in Harnett County and one in Wilson County. The hours are Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. and Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. DRCs are staffed by representatives from FEMA, North Carolina Emergency Management and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Survivors can get help applying for federal assistance, learn about the types of assistance available, learn about the appeals process and get updates about applications.
— The North Carolina Department of Public Safety continues to provide assets, equipment and resources through its Emergency Management, Highway Patrol, Adult Correction and Alcohol Law Enforcement divisions. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission continues to provide enforcement and rescue resources.