Hurricane Matthew troubled many communities in North Carolina, especially in Lumberton, which many accounts said was the hardest hit location in the state. This is where the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina call home. The vast majority of its members lost homes, businesses and food supplies for the season.
Indian Country Today Media Network investigated their situation, which has been largely ignored by mainstream media outlets. Tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin told ICTMN that 50,000 Lumbee people were affected as a result of dikes and dams. The story says:
“We did have a disaster plan in place,” Godwin said. “But this exceeded everybody’s imagination of what we thought the storm would be like.”
While they’re used to being in a hurricane zone because of the shape of the state and the typical route of storms coming up from the Caribbean, this went beyond anything the tribe had seen, he said.
“Lumberton is a town that has these dikes around it protecting it from the river,” Godwin said. “And it just rained so much, more than anyone could ever imagine or remember.”
Hurricane Matthew caused record rainfalls in some parts of Lumberton, according to The Weather Channel. For the Lumbee, this meant a loss of agriculture and livestock—as well as the electricity they use for long-term storage of crops and meat. The ICTMN reported that some power was still out as of yesterday (October 19).
The tribe has received donations locally and nationally: food, diapers and water. An online statement noted, “The outpouring of generosity, love, support and prayer has been overwhelming.”
Read the ICTMN story here.