Solidarity for a Just Florence Recovery

Environmentalists fear that the health of 160,000 people could be at risk.

When Hurricane/Storm Florence dumped an average of 17.5 inches of rain over 14,000 square miles in September, ash dumps breached along the Cape Fear and in the city of Goldsboro a hundred miles north. Dozens of hog-waste lagoons overflowed, dispensing from one cesspool alone 2.2 million gallons of fecal sludge rife with pathogens such as salmonella.

Last Friday (Sept. 28th), environmentalists found Goldsboro’s drinking water source, the Neuse River, registering arsenic levels 18 times higher than state standards. Duke is contesting those findings, and state sampling tests are pending. Nor are heavy metals that can damage vital organs the only pollutants unleashed by the unusually soggy storm. Florence was the most destructive blow to North Carolina livestock in almost a generation, slaughtering millions of chickens and thousands of hogs.

USAToday.com, Sept. 30, 2018

UUMFE supports the frontline organizations working to serve the most impacted and least able to recover populations. The local organizations are reaching out through A Just Florence Recovery, a central information source for frontline-to-frontline direct resource & support mobilization, On this one webpage, you can find organizations who need your donations of money, supplies, and calls of support to friends and family.

Unfortunately, we have been here before. Some of the suggestions and lists are gleaned from experiences with Hurricane Harvey in Texas (2017), Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico (2017) and flooding near Baton Rouge (2016) – just to name a few tropical weather extremes. Supporting frontline organizations is one way to ensure that the restoration is equitable and that the people will be empowered to form more resilient communities for the future.

Irene Keim
Irene Keim