Hurricane Florence began as a disturbance near the Southern Cabo Verde Islands on Friday, Aug. 30, 2018 and was named Tropical Storm Florence on Sept. 1. Initially projected to pose no threat to land, it became the third named hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic season on Sept. 4, fluctuating in intensity and dropping to a tropical storm again before increasing to a Category 4 hurricane on Sept. 10, threatening the Eastern seaboard.
Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach (near Wilmington) in North Carolina at 7:15 am Sept. 14 as a Category 1 hurricane, bringing a massive storm surge and sustained winds of up to 85 mph. The system inundated North Carolina and South Carolina with torrential rain for days. As the water moves downstream, continued flooding and road closures are expected throughout parts of South Carolina and North Carolina.
Wilmington, North Carolina, was cutoff due to flooding for over a week and continues (as of Sept. 24) to face risks of flooding because of a combination of river levels and high tides. To date, 43 deaths have been attributed to the storm, including 32 in North Carolina, nine in South Carolina and two in Virginia. Florence, the eighth-wettest tropical cyclone to hit the mainland United States – and the wettest ever to hit North Carolina – dumped nearly three feet of rain across parts of that state.
Flooding also killed 3.4 million chickens and 5,500 hogs at farms in the Carolinas. There is also a potentially significant impact to North Carolina’s sweet potato crop; the state produce’s half of the country’s sweet potato harvest, valued at $346.5 million last year. It is likely that the agriculture industry will also suffer damage to its other core crops: tobacco, corn, soybeans and cotton. Florence’s floodwaters have also breached at least 50 lagoons holding hog waste and at least two coal ash ponds, sending a cascade of contaminants into North Carolina waterways.
Federal officials have warned that flooding could still get worse in some areas with rivers expected to crest later this week.
Accuweather has predicted that Hurricane Florence will cause between $50 and $60 billion in economic impact and damages.
The full extent of damage has yet to be determined. While the storm has passed, rivers are still rising in many parts of the Carolinas. New flooding will continue to occur until the water has receded.
Thousands of homes have been destroyed or suffered major damage and will require mucking, gutting and rebuilding. Many more homes and businesses suffered minor flooding and will require at least mucking out and replacement of appliances. Thousands of residents will need to replace flooded vehicles. Long-term recovery will include restoration of property, business recovery and environmental cleanup. There is also significant infrastructure damage to dams, roadways, bridges etc.
CDP continues to monitor the impact of Florence and the needs that may arise.
The CDP 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season Recovery Fund allows donors to give now to support recovery needs that will continue to surface throughout many parts of the United States and the Caribbean long after the public’s attention has turned away from these major weather events. Through CDP’s unparalleled expertise in disaster management and grantmaking, there will be investments we will invest in projects and initiatives that:
- Support vulnerable populations whose lives and livelihoods have been devastated;
- Emphasize funding based upon prevailing needs that emerge in the weeks and months to come;
- Fill in gaps where public resources are unavailable or scarce; Promote cross-sector coordination with government agencies, academics, donors, think tanks, and public/private humanitarian actors.
Donations to the recovery effort can be made here.
CDP has also created a list of suggestions for foundations to consider related to disaster giving. These include:
Take the long view: Even while focusing on immediate needs, remember that it will take some time for the full range of needs to emerge. Be patient in planning for disaster funding. Recovery will take a long time, and funding will be needed throughout.
Recognize there are places private philanthropy can help that government agencies might not: Private funders have opportunities to develop innovative solutions to help prevent or mitigate future disasters that the government cannot execute.
All funders are disaster philanthropists: Even if your organization does not work in a particular geographic area or fund immediate relief efforts, you can look for ways to tie disaster funding into your existing mission. If you focus on education, health, children or vulnerable populations, disasters present prime opportunities.
Ask the experts: If you are considering supporting an organization that is positioned to work in an affected area, do some research. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy, National Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters, and InterAction have lists of organizations working in affected communities. What’s more, local community foundations have insights into NGOs that are best suited to respond in a particular community.
If you are a responding NGO or a donor, please send updates on how you are working in this crisis to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a donor looking for recommendations on how to help in this crisis, please email email@example.com.
North Carolina residents in the following counties may apply for disaster assistance: Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Harnett, Jones, Lenoir, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, Wayne County.
In South Carolina the following counties are approved for individual assistance: Dillon, Horry, Marion, Marlboro.
- Individuals and business owners who sustained losses can visit disasterassistance.gov to check eligibility for federal, state, local, and voluntary organizations in their community that best meet their specific needs.
- Survivors without internet access can check their eligibility for disaster assistance by calling 1-800-621-3362 (Multilingual operators are available press 2 for Spanish).
- Disaster assistance applicants who use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (EDT) daily.
- Individual Assistance Fact Sheets