Gov. Cooper tours Hurricane Matthew's hardest hit areas
TARBORO, Edgecombe County - Gov. Roy Cooper vowed to help flood victims while touring some of Hurricane Matthew's hardest hit areas on Thursday.
"Help is on the way for storm survivors and we're pulling together to get the job done," Cooper said. "We have more work ahead and we must use this opportunity to rebuild smart and strong for the future of our communities, businesses, and schools."
CLICK HERE to read more from WTVD Several abandoned neighborhoods still have notices taped up on windows. The Princeville Elementary School is also shut down; more than 200 students have been relocated. FEMA has offered to buy-out the school, but Cooper says there is a desire to rebuild the facility. "It just gotta be done in a smart way and a way you don't put people at risk in the future," he said. Local, state, and federal officials are looking to see what improvements can be made to the area to prevent devastating flooding in the future. The Army Corps of Engineers just finished a study and the state is getting ready to launch its own. Cooper says one thing officials are considering to do is elevate properties in flood-prone areas. "I think everybody wants to do it as expeditiously as possible, but you want to make sure you've got the time to look everything and you're making the right kind of decisions," he said. Matthew caused the Tar River to swell and residents were forced out of their homes. Some people were under a mandatory evacuation. State officials say more than 500 families are still living in hotels after the storm. Cooper says there are plans to go to Congress and ask for more money. "We want to work continually to try and get these families out of hotels and into affordable housing," he said. Cooper is also calling on state lawmakers to work with him. He feels if certain legislation is reversed, it could bring more affordable housing.