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By Jessica Southwell

SouthwellJessica Southwell is the Project Manager for the Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery and Resilience Initiative. She coordinates the work of the Initiative in six communities in eastern North Carolina that were impacted by Hurricane Matthew.

The Hurricane Matthew Recovery and Resilience Initiative is led by the Center for Natural Hazards Resilience at UNC-Chapel Hill, which also leads the Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence. The Initiative was started in early 2017 to address recovery concerns in six North Carolina communities.

A few months ago, local partners in Hurricane Matthew recovery sat at a six-top table at a diner in Kinston, N.C. We had spent the morning walking through the logistics for hosting an AmeriCorps team that would soon be in town, meeting just a few weeks following the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Matthew.

Our discussion soon turned to what it was like those first few days after the storm. Many discussed watching the river rise from their various posts in town, even in the days following Matthew when the sky had turned blue after dumping inches upon inches of rain on already drenched soil.

Everyone around the table had been through this before. When Hurricane Floyd hit North Carolina in 1999, residents believed the 500-year flood would be the only one they witnessed in a lifetime. Just 17 years later, in October 2016, the same residents were experiencing it again. Now, more than a year after Matthew, the topic of hurricane recovery in Kinston, and in communities across Eastern North Carolina, is still a regular, if not daily, part of the local conversation.

Read the full blog post on Environmental Spotlight.

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