LUMBERTON — As the Lumber River slowly recedes after record flooding in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, the number of displaced people in emergency shelters is shrinking as well.
Kellie Blue, finance officer for the county who is acting as a spokesperson during this crisis, said there were 1,354 people in shelters on Wednesday morning, a number that was continuing to go down as people found their way home or to other safe havens. That is down from a peak of around 1,800 people.
Blue said the county is in the process of closing the Southeastern North Carolina Agricultural Events Center as a shelter and using it only as a place for donated supplies to be dropped off for transport to the remaining four shelters. She said those who have been at that shelter will be taken to St. Pauls High School, although she expects some will opt to go elsewhere.
That will leave four shelters, at South Robeson High School, Purnell Swett High School, Bill Sapp Recreation Center and St. Pauls High.
Volunteers are needed at the shelters, as are supplies. Some of the supplies that are needed include water, ice, diapers, wipes and toiletries. They should be dropped off at the Ag Center, which is easily accessible from most directions because it is located in U.S. 74. Anyone wishing to donate can also contact the county Emergency Operations Center at 910-272-5867.
Those looking to locate a family member who may be in Robeson County emergency shelters can call 910-738-5057.