Saturday, December 9, 2023

Displacement in Pender County, Part One: ‘It’s all gone now’

Part one of a three-part series, examining the lasting damage Hurricane Florence has done to Pender County residents, three months after the storm caused major flooding.

PENDER COUNTY — Three months after Hurricane Florence caused widespread flooding in the region, many residents near the county’s rivers are still living in tents and camp trailers.

Port City Daily traveled with local activist Jennifer Witkowski, who recently founded the nonprofit Pender Strong, to get their stories.

Part One of our video series takes you into the life of Rocky Point resident Mary Turcotte, who explains the sadness she has felt over lost photos and family belongings –– those possessions that can never be replaced.

Thirty years of her family’s pictures were destroyed, and she remembered trying to save them in the aftermath of the flooding.

“You touch it and it crumbles, you hold pictures in your hand, and you move it and they just fade away,” Turcotte said.

Part Two will examine another residents’ thoughts toward FEMA trailer permits, the county’s response in aiding flood victims, and the coming together of a community still searching for answers.

Mark Darrough can be reached at

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