A lot of unknowns still remain for Onslow County residents who are waiting to get home after evacuating. What they do know for now is that they are not likely getting home soon.

"I cannot give you a specific date and time on when people can return,” said Onslow County Emergency Services Director Norman Bryson on Sunday. “ ... It is still not safe for your own life at this moment. We are working on that."

Bryson said that when the county can get a route and safety worked out, they will let people know.

There are currently 500 people in shelters set up in Onslow County after the storm and more are expected. Another 1,100 residents are being housed in shelters inland and others evacuated to hotels or to other locations.

All are waiting to get home and many aren’t sure where they are going to stay in the meantime.

Marine Lance Cpl. Davon and Ivey Pearsall-Evans of Jacksonville evacuated to a hotel in Charlotte that would allow pets.

While her husband is stationed at New River, which ordered a mandatory evacuation, Camp Lejeune’s evacuation was voluntary and they won’t be able to receive any reimbursement.

Pearsall-Evans said the hotel has waived their pet fee but they’ve already had to pay for five days lodging and are dipping into funds they would be using for groceries and other bills when they do get home.

They have some remaining funds on them but can’t access others until their Marine Federal branch reopens.

“What happens when we run out?” she asked.

As many wonder what damage their homes may have sustained, there is the added stress of not knowing what their housing arrangements will be until then.

“It’s the financial stability of it,” Pearsall-Evans said.

For those in shelters inland who used the county transportation system, there hasn’t been news on when they’ll leave the shelters.

While the shelters are not manned by Red Cross, it is best that people stay in a safe location until they can safely go elsewhere, said Charlotte Rodriguez, public relations officer for the American Red Cross in Onslow County.

“Shelters provide a safe and secure place until you can find another place,” she said.

Rodriguez said the Red Cross is working on getting emergency response vehicle into the county to provide meals and cleaning supplies.

She also suggested that people in need of help call 211, an emergency line that can provide information on resources available for various needs.

For those who have evacuated from Eastern North Carolina it remains a waiting game.

Hazel M. Welton of Swansboro, who is staying at a shelter in Garner, hasn’t heard yet about the condition of her home.

“I’m worried but there is no need to keep worrying too much,” she said. “You do what you have to do. I’m OK as long as I can get help to put things back together.”

Welton said she has a friend who stayed in town for the storm and she is worried about her.

Others staying at the shelter felt a little better knowing their homes were not damaged.

“We were really lucky and heard it wasn’t damaged,” said Tyrese Abdulhamad of Jacksonville. He and his mother, Debra Dorsey, evacuated while his father in law stayed in Jacksonville.

Rick Demers of Jacksonville is just appreciative of the help from others for his home community.

“I’m real glad that we’ve got people coming in to help out,” he said.

The mandatory evacuation will be lifted at 8 a.m. Tuesday, however, County Manager David Cotton asks for residents to give officials time to identify routes into town and get fuel trucks in.

 

Reporter Jannette Pippin can be reached at 910-382-2557 or Jannette.Pippin@JDNews.com.