More than 100 people in New Bern are still waiting to be rescued from their homes. At 2pm this afternoon, Public Information Officer Colleen Roberts says six swift water rescue teams have been working since yesterday afternoon to evacuate individuals and families, in some cases, from the roofs of their homes.
“Just dozens of calls just saying the water is coming in the house, the water is now over the hood of my car. I’m in chest deep water, I need help, I need you to rescue me. Because we had gotten to a point where the weather was so bad, we were having to stack and strategize on those calls. We were forced to have conversations with these people and say hey, do you by chance live in a two story home? Can you go up a level? It may be a while before we can get to you.”
Roberts says water rescue teams are helping people in Trent Woods, Cypress Shores, Pembroke, Duffyfield, North Craven St., Oaks Road and downtown along the riverfront.
“We were telling folks, we have 150 people who need rescue, we will come for you, we will rescue you. It might take some time but we are coming.”
Roberts estimates 3,400 homes and 300 commercial buildings have been damaged by Hurricane Florence. Several city buildings have taken on water and part of the roof was blown off a City owned building on Rhem Ave.
“Getting calls in right now about the boats on N. Craven Street. They’ve washed up in the flood waters and are literally sitting in the street, on the pavement.”
The City has been able to restore power to 7,000 of 22,000 impacted customers. The Emergency Operations Center has identified 75 locations where trees have fallen on roadways, blocking emergency responders. Public works crews are clearing the road of debris.
Roberts says they’re hearing from New Bern residents who were evacuated to an emergency shelter in Sandford earlier this week.
They’re already calling and asking when they can come back. We need to get some order in place around here. The streets are a disaster. “
Roberts urges residents to stay off the streets, saying the City has issued a 24-hour curfew until further notice.