Mayor of New Bern, N.C.: 'We're Going to Get Through This'

September 17, 2018

By Madison Alworth

As the remnants of Florence make their way north, causing tornadoes in Virginia, the devastation to the Carolina coast is just beginning to be understood. One of the areas most affected was New Bern, NC. The city is completely flooded, and around 4,300 homes have been damaged or destroyed by Florence.

"It's a tough time for New Bern. But we've been here 300 years, we've never let a hurricane get us down, we're not going to let this one," said Mayor Dana Outlaw. The local official joined Cheddar via the phone to give an update from the ground.

Since the storm made landfall, 455 people have had to be rescued from the flood waters in New Bern. "The top priority continues to be safety and security for our citizens," said Outlaw.

Residents are being encouraged to stay out of town as clean up efforts are underway, and there is no clear sense of when people will be able to return to their homes.

"Let's wait for the governor to say it's time for eastern North Carolina residents to return, because it's not there yet," said Outlaw.

Getting the city back up and running will be a group effort. During her Cheddar interview, Outlaw was outside an office where North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and other state officials were meeting. New Bern and cities like it will turn to state and federal groups and agencies like FEMA, as well as everyday individuals for help.

"My daughter from Bethlehem, NC, is bringing three truckloads of blankets and things. It's that type of community involvement, and North Carolina and United States involvement, that is going to get us back quick," said Outlaw.

However the mayor did stress the severity of the situation. According to New Bern city manager Mark Stephens, damage estimates are as high as $6 million for the city. The danger and work is not over yet, and Mayor Outlaw hammered home that point.

"Remember everybody out there, sometimes folks die after a storm, not during it."

For full interview click here.