NC leaders discuss ways to help those impacted by future and past hurricanes

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) – Hurricane season starts in just a few weeks. Ahead of what’s looking like a very active season, one city in Eastern Carolina held a meeting to try to mitigate some issues brought to light by previous natural disasters.

The meeting on Friday was held at the Kinston-Lenoir public library, which featured a committee of 15 people from around North Carolina that can best help those most impacted by major hurricanes.

“I was affected by Matthew. I was flooded out. This is the reason why I’m here today as the mayor because I wanted to do something about flooding,” said Kinston Mayor Don Hardy.

The first Citizen Advisory Committee meeting was held in 2022, Mayor Hardy serves as the current chairman of the committee.

Other members include Pitt County and Bladen County commissioners, along with other North Carolina community leaders.

“One of the things we heard today is a need to communicate with your local government. Get to know your local government and find out what resources are available for you,” said Matt Arlyn, Chief Recovery Officer of the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency.

Some meeting highlights include updates to a natural disaster action plan as well as discussing ways to prevent communities from being destroyed again.

“These funds are unique, and they’re intended to prevent future disaster, loss, or other grants are to recover individuals and communities from disaster loss. This one further looks at seeing what we can do to prevent those losses,” Arlyn.

Along with grants that the organization has used to help rebuild areas still struggling from major storms, local leaders help guide their communities to the help.

“How do we get the resources we need how did the folks get the resources that need it the most? This is why we’re here today and this is why I’m here on the CAC committee,” said Mayor Hardy.

The North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency said it has a $114 million grant for projects in counties like Wilson and Pitt that have parts that are still unlivable due to flooding. While it’s not set in stone, the committee discussed holding its next meeting in September. The committee meets twice a year.