North Carolina Latinos left homeless by Matthew await Help

gty_flood_stack_02_as_160817_12x5_1600Around a hundred Hispanics have been sleeping in their cars or on the streets since flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew swept away a trailer park in this small North Carolina town.

“We have lost everything and we don’t know what to do. So far, no authorities have come to help us, nor did any authorities warn us we had to evacuate,” 10-year park resident Tomas Rivera Sanchez told EFE.

He recalled watching as the river that flows past the trailer park in Newton Grove began rising due to Matthew’s torrential rains.

“It was Friday (Oct.) 7th and it continued until the early hours of Saturday. In the afternoon, the water advanced very quickly and we went door-to-door to warn the other residents,” he said.

“Those who could, went to the homes of relatives,” Rivera said. “The rest of us went to the parking lot of a nearby supermarket and slept inside our cars. Now, we remain there and in the street because we don’t have a home or anything.”

When the waters receded, residents of the trailer park returned to find their homes flooded and uninhabitable.

“The water rose and reached about 4 feet inside the trailer,” Ines Juarez Martinez, a mother of two, told EFE.

The spaces surrounding the individual mobile homes are strewn with furniture, appliances, clothes and other possessions ruined by the water.

Members of a Latino organization in Raleigh, the state capital, arrived in Newton Grove this week with food, clothing and other items for the trailer park residents.

“The neediness of so many families broke our hearts, so we have taken the initiative to come help them with donations we managed to collect,” activist Juan Vazquez Roman said.

North Carolina authorities say Matthew killed at least 20 people in the state, most of them motorists who drowned when their vehicles were swept away by floodwaters.

Emergency personnel rescued some 2,300 people from inundated areas and around 3,800 displaced residents remain in shelters.

Sections of Interstate-95, which stretches from Miami to the Canadian border, in North Carolina remain under water, as well as a stretch of I-40 that passes near Newton Grove.