Saturday, June 15, 2024

Displacement in Pender County, Part Three: ‘Nobody really has one finger on it’

Part three 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 Three of our video series explores the uphill climb Burgaw farm owner Stephanie Kramer has faced with her FEMA trailer, which sat idle for a month before she was allowed to move in Tuesday night.

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

The problems began when a FEMA representative drove the trailer into a ditch on her property, damaging its top vent.

“Then it was electrical issues. I had already had a temporary pole put in for power and water because I have the livestock. And I was told I was not allowed to use that, even though it was maybe 15 feet from the camper,” Kramer said.

She then watched as an electrical crew spent over two days installing a series of five power poles across her yard to the pump house. Some told her it was a Pender County requirement, others told her it was a FEMA requirement.

“When I asked how to connect the water pump to [the installed outlet], they told me that I don’t need to connect it,” Kramer said. “I just need to have it, which seems like an incredible waste of time and money.”

Mark Darrough can be reached at

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