Some of the biggest short-term environmental justice / health concerns for communities at this time include:
- Flooding of hog farms. The extent of damages are still unknown, but so far don’t appear to be as bad as those from Hurricane Floyd in 1999. However, the floods have once again brought into the spotlight the vast number, size and EJ impacts on nearby communities of concentrated animal feeding operations in eastern NC.
- Flooding and breaching of coal ash impoundments, and Duke Energy’s failure to respond quickly. Unbelievably, it was a news crew from WRAL that alerted Duke Energy to a breach in their cooling pond dam at the H.F. Lee plant in Goldsboro. Duke Energy was also late to admit that coal ash had been washing downstream from the submerged coal ash ponds at Lee. This flooding is another reminder of how hazardous leaking coal ash pits are, and the urgency of finding real, protective solutions to store coal ash.
- The lack of clean, safe drinking water in many areas due to contaminated flood water and damages to water treatment plants. Some places, such as Lumberton, may be without clean tap water for weeks. Private well users should test their wells if they were submerged; click here for information on free Hurricane Matthew well test kits that will be available through county health departments. Read more about drinking water impacts in NC Health News.
In both the short and long term, we stand with these communities as they face many environmental risks. We hope that in the wake of a natural disaster of this magnitude, NC decision makers will seek to enact policies that will make the state more prepared and the environment more secure from potentially harmful substances.
If you wish to help communities affected by the storm, here are just a few of the many organizations receiving donations for flood relief for areas hit by post-Matthew flooding:
- Burnt Swamp Baptist Association is providing hot meals in Robeson County. Mail checks to Burnt Swamp Baptist Association, PO BOX 1207, Pembroke, NC 28732 (“flood relief” in memo), or email Brandi Brooks at email@example.com for information on donating online.
- Rebuilding Broken Places, CDC is accepting donations to provide hot meals for Wayne County residents in need. Mail checks to Rebuilding Broken Places, CDC 2105 N. Williams Street Goldsboro, NC 27530 or donate online at www.rbpcdc.org.
- Salvation Army (specify flood relief): http://bit.ly/2dKhhuD or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
- The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina is asking for donations of food and money.The group is accepting donations of canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, rice and other food items, as well as baby formula, diapers and other supplies for infants and children. Items can be dropped off at any of the Food Bank’s six locations in North Carolina. In Raleigh, items can be dropped off at 3808 Tarheel Drive. View a full list of requested items, or donate money online here. Donations can also be sent via mail to any of the Food Bank’s locations with the memo line “Matthew.”