North Carolina town hit by double whammy of storms
The childhood home Katrina Bullock (pictured) returned to in the rural North Carolina community of Fair Bluff about 16 years ago to care for her sick mother was devastated by flooding from Hurricane Matthew in 2016. REUTERS/Randall Hill
A new roof went up after that. Walls saturated with muddy floodwaters were being replaced and things were looking up until a new storm, Hurricane Florence struck about 23 months later in September. REUTERS/Randall Hill
"We were starting to get it all back together and there comes Florence, and it takes it all again," said Bullock. She and other residents of Fair Bluff, and of many other communities in the southern and southeast parts of North Carolina hit by the...more
Katrina Bullock stacks debris in front of her home. REUTERS/Randall Hill
Railroad trucks speed down Main Street in Fair Bluff, North Carolina. Settlers first arrived in the area around Fair Bluff in the mid-1700s and one of the oldest buildings in Columbus County, where the town is located, is a trading post built on the...more
A sign in front of the Fair Bluff United Methodist Church gives a message to the community. Experts say such hamlets and towns face permanent changes, with fewer residents, fewer businesses and fewer prospects of returning to the way things were just...more
A downtown shop is pictured after flooding in Fair Bluff. "There will be a real desire to make Fair Bluff the best it can be, but it may look and be a different thing from what it has historically been," said Patrick Woodie, president of the NC Rural...more
Broken open signs are pictured next to a closed business in Fair Bluff. Even before Florence hit, many small towns in North Carolina were struggling due to a decline in agriculture and manufacturing. Poverty rates in the state are higher now than in...more
Downtown shops are pictured after flooding in Fair Bluff. Matthew led to catastrophic flooding throughout low-lying eastern North Carolina and caused billions of dollars in damage. In took 28 lives in the United States while Florence killed more than...more
Minnie Williams takes a break while preparing her home to reconnect the electricity in Fair Bluff. Fair Bluff is a mostly agricultural community with a Main Street book-ended by two churches and nestled next to the Lumber River, a usually peaceful...more
Minnie Williams (R) and her grandson James Williams remove a gas grill while preparing her home to reconnect the electricity. REUTERS/Randall Hill
Randy Britt take a break as he works to clean one of his downtown buildings in Fair Bluff. Almost all the stores on Main Street closed after Matthew and when Florence rolled in, the floodwaters brought fresh destruction to places like a furniture...more
Randy Britt shows the high water mark of Hurricane Florence compared to Hurricane Matthew as he worked to clean one of his downtown buildings. Randy Britt, 71, who has lived in Fair Bluff all his life owns buildings on the Main Street commercial area...more
Randy Britt works to clean one of his downtown buildings in Fair Bluff. Fair Bluff Mayor Billy Hammond believes the town had about 1,000 residents before Matthew and was left with about half that afterward, with many evacuees just never returning....more
Randy Britt walks through one of his downtown buildings in Fair Bluff. "It has been a ghost town for about two years," he said in an interview. "We're just going have to take it one day at a time and move forward and hope that people come back," he...more
Woody Strickland walks through the sanctuary of Fair Bluff Baptist Church after flooding. Fair Bluff is about 125 miles (200 km) south of Raleigh. About 21 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and median household income is $28,611,...more
Woody Strickland adjusts a ventilation fan in the sanctuary of Fair Bluff Baptist Church. In low-lying areas near the river where some of the poorest people in Fair Bluff live, many have returned to storm-damaged homes because they do not have the...more
Shazir Haque works to board his building in Fair Bluff. A disproportionate number of low-income people live in flood plains in river communities, according to Gavin Smith, a professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University...more
John Wayne Phillips stands in his living room after flooding in Fair Bluff. REUTERS/Randall Hill
Jim Dotson works to clean his yard after flooding in Fair Bluff. REUTERS/Randall Hill
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