Deadly flooding from Florence leaves 'long road ahead' for the Carolinas, governor says

At least 37 people, including several young children, have died from the storm.

September 19, 2018, 4:23 PM

Florence's deadly flooding means "a long road ahead" for North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper said at a joint briefing with President Donald Trump Wednesday.

"Thank you, Mr. President, for coming to North Carolina as our rescue and recovery continues," Cooper said. "Our state took a gut punch and our people are still reeling."

President Donald Trump and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper listen while attending a briefing, after Trump arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point to visit areas impacted by Hurricane Florence, Sept. 19, 2018, in Havelock, N.C.
Evan Vucci/AP

"We have never seen one like this," Cooper added. "This one has been epic, it has been disastrous and it has been widespread. I'm asking you, sir, for your help every step of the way."

Lisa Shackleford hugs her pet dogs Izzy and Bella as she wades through flood waters to safety while the Northeast Cape Fear River breaks its banks in the aftermath Hurricane Florence in Burgaw, North Carolina, Sept. 17, 2018.
Jonathan Drake/Reuters
Mary and Phil Pongonis look at the damaged roadway from Hurricane Florence in Boiling Spring Lakes, N.C., Sept. 18, 2018.
Ken Blevins/The Star-News/AP

Trump pledged that the federal government will "do whatever we have to do to make this perfect."

After the briefing the president stopped by a local church where he helped hand out meals to families affected by the storm.

President Donald Trump greets people while distributing food after Hurricane Florence in New Bern, N.C., Sept. 19, 2018.
Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Trump then headed to New Bern, North Carolina, which was devastated by the storm, and spoke with residents on the streets.

"We'll be here," the president said as he shook hands with men and women.

At least 37 people, including several young children, have died from Florence, which brought unprecedented rainfall and flooding to the Carolinas.

    Trump called Florence "one of the most powerful and devastating storms ever to hit our country."

    He told family members who lost loved ones in the storm that "America grieves with you and our hearts break for you. God bless you. We will never forget your loss. We will never leave your side."

    President Donald Trump walks down a street while on a tour of Hurricane Florence recovery efforts in New Bern, N.C., Sept. 19, 2018.
    Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    Trump also a toured a neighborhood in Conway, South Carolina, with Gov. Henry McMaster. He later visited an emergency operations center in Horry County for a disaster relief briefing.

    McMaster stressed that “the worst is yet to come" in terms of rising floodwaters.

    "Whatever we need from Washington, we are there," Trump assured McMaster.

    The hurricane has prompted widespread evacuations and about 10,000 people still remain in shelters.

    Oliver Kelly, 1, cries as he is carried off the sheriff's airboat during his rescue from rising flood waters in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Leland, North Carolina, Sept. 16, 2018.
    Jonathan Drake/Reuters

    Officials on Tuesday distributed goods including food, water and tarps to Wilmington, North Carolina, residents who lined up in cars and on foot.

    Among those who showed up were Robert and Karen Foster.

    "Everybody's closed, so we're hoping we can at least get a tarp here, maybe two," Karen Foster told ABC News.

    Through tears, she said she has survived hurricanes Floyd in 1999 and Matthew in 2016 but "this has been the absolute worst one."

    A car sits in a flooded parking lot at an apartment complex near the Cape Fear River as it continues to rise in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Fayetteville, Sept. 18, 2018.
    David Goldman/AP

    ABC News' Jordyn Phelps and Alex Mallin contributed to this report.

    Related Topics