LUMBERTON — The number of displaced Robeson County residents in emergency shelters following Hurricane Matthew, which peaked at about 1,800, had dropped below 400 as of Wednesday afternoon.
According to Kellie Blue, the finance director for the county who is acting as a spokesperson following the hurricane, attempts were being made to consolidate three of the sites, all at high schools, into one at the Robeson County fairgrounds. Before that can happen, the fairgrounds has to be certified as an emergency shelter.
The American Red Cross is managing the shelters, which are no longer distribution sites for food, water and other supplies. The shelters are being used to house and feed people until they make other arrangements.
The Public Schools of Robeson County has not held classes since Oct. 7, the day before Hurricane Matthew hit hardest. It’s unclear when the schools will be back in session, but classes are canceled through this week. Some schools have damage, and Red Springs, South Robeson and Purnell Swett high schools must quit serving as shelters before students can return.
On Wednesday, there were a total of 371 people still in shelters, according to Blue. There were 140 at the Bill Sapp Recreation Center on Pine Street in Lumberton, 125 at Purnell Swett High School, 71 at South Robeson High School and 35 at Red Springs High School.