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Cooper checks in on Florence recovery efforts

Updated: Sep. 19, 2018 at 12:32 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Governor Roy Cooper stopped in the Port City Tuesday to speak with those who had been impacted by Hurricane Florence and to thank the first responders for their efforts in the wake of the storm.

Cooper was greeted by local leaders from New Hanover County at the Independence Mall Thursday. The mall has served as a staging area for rescue crews.

Cooper, along with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long, took time to speak with first responders who traveled to administer aid after the storm.

"We are so grateful for what you have done to come leave your homes and leave your families," the governor said to a crowd of emergency personnel Monday.

Cooper also spoke to reporters Monday afternoon, expressing that the North Carolina coast will have a long recovery, but that the people in need have already displayed resiliency. The governor is asking that those who evacuated from the coast continue to stay out of Wilmington.

"We're asking people not to return home at this time. The roads are still dangerous. We also know we only have a few ways to get in to Wilmington right now," Cooper explained.

After leaving Independence Mall, the governor made his way to the shelter at Hoggard High School. The school has been a place of refuge for those who are still displaced from their homes. Cooper took time to speak with the evacuees who were seeking refuge.

"There are a number of people in there who have lost everything and in fact had to be rescued with nothing so some people just have nothing," said Cooper in an interview with WECT.

He said he wanted to let the people staying in the shelter know that they were not alone in the recovery process.

Long said recovery resources are on the ground in Wilmington and more will be arriving in the coming weeks.

"We're just at the very, very tip top of the iceberg of the beginning. The response phase is the shortest phase. The recovery phase is going to take years," Long explained.

Cooper's final stop in Wilmington was a food distribution center near Cape Fear Community College. He spoke with several residents who had stopped by to pick up supplies.

"(I'm) very impressed that he's out here in Wilmington, especially down here where people are trying to get food and water," said Jack Jackson, a resident picking up meals.

The governor is encouraging people that want to help with storm relief efforts to contact the National Association of Voluntary Organizations.

If you think are in need of federal assistance the number to call is 1-800-621-FEMA.

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