By Erin Smith
Bladen County is serving as a host, as well as receiving assistance from many groups and rescue teams.
On Tuesday morning, Bladen County Emergency Management Director, Bradley Kinlaw, said that right now preparations are underway to establish community feeding locations. Once those sites are determined, an announcement will be made, said Kinlaw.
Bladen County residents have been reporting seeing helicopters flying overhead. Kinlaw said residents are observing several things which are taking place. He said the Bladen County Sheriff’s Department helicopter has been flying over areas of Bladen County assessing damage, observing the flooding and looking at road conditions.
Kinlaw also said there are resources that have been staged in Raleigh and plan on flying from the local airport out to the beach towns and wherever help may be needed.
“We are the number one place for refueling for the military in the humanitarian effort,” said Kinlaw.
Kinlaw said the Elizabethtown Airport is also hosting a 100-man FEMA certified USAR team from New Jersey. He said they are responding to calls at the beach communities but are also assisting Bladen County officials with calls as well.
“This morning (Tuesday) they were out in the Kelly area going door to door to make sure we didn’t miss anyone (on the evacuation order),” said Kinlaw.
Kinlaw also said there are 250 additional first responders from outside Bladen County and from other states who are staging their operations from here. There are also additional law enforcement teams who have also arrived to assist local law enforcement as well.
Kinlaw said as of Tuesday morning, the county has responded to more than 300 rescue calls.
As of Tuesday morning, there were 490 individuals who remain in the emergency shelters. Kinlaw said the Emergency Shelter at Elizabethtown Middle School is preparing to close at 12 noon and the remaining occupants will be relocated to the East Bladen Shelter.