N. Carolina town hopes to re­bound from storm

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Tamara Lush and Allen G. Breed

LUM­BER­TON, N.C. — A day after flee­ing from the swollen Lum­ber River, the res­i­dents of this down-but­not-quite-out for­mer mill town waded Wednes­day into the swirling, tea-col­ored wa­ters and filled jugs for some­thing most of us take for granted: flush­ing their toi­lets.

“We still don’t have wa­ter or power in our house,” Caro­line Kahn said as she sloshed through some­one’s flooded front yard in a pair of flower-print boots. “So we need wa­ter for the ne­ces­si­ties of life.”

About 1,200 res­i­dents had to be evac­u­ated by boat de­hy­dra­tion, but is eas­ily Unit in Haiti. “We should and plucked from their treat­able if caught in time. act very quickly to con­tain roofs by he­li­copters as the

The Cat­e­gory 4 storm this, oth­er­wise it could get river crested. Two of the that hit Oct. 4 has killed out of con­trol.” state’s 19 fa­tal­i­ties oc­curred LES CAYES, Haiti — more than 500 peo­ple, acC­holera is not the only in Robe­son County, of Hur­ri­cane Matthew first cord­ing to na­tional emer­health emer­gency in the which Lum­ber­ton is the took the home of Sonette gency of­fi­cials, and the coun­try. seat. Crow­nal in a town on wreck­age it left be­hind has Kr­ish­nan and oth­ers Of all the towns af­fected Haiti’s south­ern coast. cre­ated the per­fect condi­warn about mal­nu­tri­tion by Hur­ri­cane Matthew, this Then cholera came for her tions for spread­ing the wabecause of dam­age to crops city of 22,000 was among baby. ter-borne dis­ease. and live­stock, as well as the hard­est hit and the least

The 25-year-old mar­ket Matthew sent rivers and fish­ing boats and gear, de­able to ab­sorb it. ven­dor and her fam­ily were out­door la­trines over­flow­priv­ing many of their liveli“It is just a heart­break,” tak­ing stock of their losses ing across the moun­tain­ous hoods in a coun­try where said nov­el­ist Jill McCorkle, after the storm when she land­scape. Cholera-con­more than half sur­vive on a Lum­ber­ton na­tive. She no­ticed that Pe­ter James, t am­i­nated wa­ter has less than $2 a day. and her hus­band, Tom 10 months old, was showleached into those drink­ing “The hur­ri­cane af­fected Rankin, drove south­east ing symp­toms of a dis­ease wells that weren’t ru­ined a pop­u­la­tion who was al­from their home in Hill­sthat health au­thor­i­ties say by Matthew’s storm surge. ready in frag­ile health, and bor­ough, his pickup filled is surg­ing in the wake of the Thou­sands of peo­ple it has made their con­di­tion with di­a­pers and drink­ing storm. whose homes were ru­ined worse,” said Paul Brock­wa­ter. “It’s a very poor area

“When I saw the sym­pare shar­ing close quar­ters mann, direc­tor of Doc­tors any­way.” toms and knew what was with fam­ily and friends, the With­out Bor­ders’ mis­sion Like so many early se­tre­ally go­ing on, then I got kind of prox­im­ity amid in Haiti. “There is a very tle­ments, Lum­ber­ton descared,” Crow­nal said as poor san­i­ta­tion that aids in long stretch of densely pended on the river for she cra­dled the boy in her trans­mis­sion. Re­ports have pop­u­lated coast­line which sur­vival. By the late 18th arms at a Les Cayes cholera been trick­ling in that the is at risk.” cen­tury, the town had be­treat­ment cen­ter. dis­ease is spik­ing. Cholera was un­known in come a trad­ing cen­ter for

About 20 peo­ple, some The World Health OrHaiti un­til the fall of 2010. tim­ber and re­lated ma­ter­ilist­lessals.fromthedis­ease,lay­ga­ni­za­tion­sai­datleast­200Thedis­ease­was­ap­par­ently on cots un­der a metal roof sus­pected cholera cases in­tro­duced by U.N. peaceBut it wasn’t tim­ber that in the trop­i­cal heat. have been re­ported across keep­ers from Nepal, part of gave the river and town

Cholera is caused by south­west Haiti since Mata con­tin­gent of troops who their names. bac­te­ria that pro­duce sethew hit, and it has pledged had been ro­tat­ing through To lo­cal In­di­ans, it was vere di­ar­rhea and is conto send 1 mil­lion doses of the coun­try since 2004. not the Lum­ber but the tracted by drink­ing con­c­holera vac­cine to Haiti. Since then, cholera has Lum­bee. tam­i­nated wa­ter or eat­ing “It is not look­ing good,” killed roughly 10,000 peoPoet John Charles Mc­con­tam­i­nated food. It can said Dr. Unni Kr­ish­nan, ple and sick­ened more than Neill, a na­tive of neigh­bor­lead to a rapid, ag­o­niz­ing direc­tor of Save the Chil800,000 in this coun­try. ing Scot­land County who death through com­plete dren’s Emer­gency Health grew up along the river, Storm sur­vivors bathe and clean clothes this week in the south­west­ern part of Haiti. A busi­ness in Lum­ber­ton, a North Carolina city of 22,000, shows the ef­fects Wednes­day of Hur­ri­cane Matthew. said the name was from a lo­cal In­dian word mean­ing “black wa­ter.”

Early Euro­pean sur­vey­ors and set­tlers called it “Drown­ing Creek.”

In the 2011 book “Com­mu­ni­ties in Eco­nomic Cri­sis: Ap­palachia and the South,” Lum­bee In­dian ac­tivist Richard Re­gan drew a pri­mal con­nec­tion between his peo­ple and the wa­ters upon which they live.

“Like the river, the Lum­bees have a mys­tery, ex­cite­ment and vi­o­lence in their his­tory; and like the river they per­se­vere,” he said. “Our very iden­tity is wrapped up in the river. The river gave us iso­la­tion to de­velop com­mu­nity iden­tity. It gave us pro­tec­tion from our many en­e­mies. It gave us spir­i­tual power to sus­tain our bod­ies and souls.”

The his­toric down­town is dom­i­nated by the court­house, at­tor­neys’ of­fices and bail bonds­men. Once­gen­teel depart­ment stores are now empty, and win­dows into va­cant shops are dusty and bar­ren.

The Lum­ber­ton Vis­i­tors Bureau site lists its lo­ca­tion along In­ter­state 95 — and the four ex­its off it — as its key at­trac­tion.

“Lum­ber­ton is the mid­point between New York and Florida,” the site de- clares. “All ho­tels are vis­i­ble from the in­ter­state, mak­ing ac­cess easy for vis­i­tors.”

Lum­ber­ton served as the set­ting for direc­tor David Lynch’s 1986 neo-noir film “Blue Vel­vet.”

“The look of it was in­spired by my child­hood in Spokane, Wash.,” Lynch once told an in­ter­viewer. “There are many Lum­ber­tons in Amer­ica.”

Yet Lum­ber­ton and sur­round­ing Robe­son County had the high­est vi­o­lent crime rate in the state in 2014, the most re­cent year avail­able, ac­cord­ing to state data.

On Mon­day night, a state trooper shot and killed a man who al­legedly con­fronted of­fi­cers while hold­ing a gun.

The city thought it was pre­pared for the storm. But no one ex­pected more than a foot of rain in less than 24 hours, on top of heavy rains the week be­fore, said Jim Wal­ters, deputy direc­tor of pub­lic works.

McCorkle said the re­gion has a “long tra­di­tion” of “com­ing to­gether and stick­ing to­gether.”

“I just have to be pos­i­tive and be­lieve that ev­ery­thing will come back,” she said. But “they are re­ally go­ing to need as much help as they can get from the out­side — and peo­ple who care.”

CHUCK BUR­TON/AP

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