New Bern officials accepting help from residents with boats as around 150 await rescue


NEW BERN. N.C. (WNCN) — Around 150 people in New Bern are waiting to be rescued as flood waters cover the city Friday morning. 

Hurricane Florence’s storm surge started flooding New Bern Thursday afternoon. As of 6:30 a.m. Friday morning, around 200 people had already been rescued, according to Colleen Roberts, public information officer with the city of New Bern.

“We haven’t asked for…help, we’ve had a bunch of citizens call or come out offering to assist in those rescues. We’re not turning them away. We are asking them to please organize with us, however. Meaning, if you have a watercraft you’re willing to go out and do those rescues, meet up at the New Bern Fire Rescue Department at 1401 Neuse Blvd.,” Roberts said.

New Bern officials tweeted saying two FEMA swift water rescue teams were on the way to help.

“WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU. You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU,” the tweet read.

“Some did not [evacuate] because they’ve never experienced a storm quite like this which has caused some more effort than we had anticipated, so it’s extending our man power, stretching us fairly thin,” New Bern Police Lt. David Daniels told CBS News.

New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw also spoke with CBS News about the latest conditions in the city.

“[The rain is] starting to get light enough that we can get out and start assessing the damages,” he said. “We’re working hard to get the remaining citizens that did not evacuate earlier, we’re trying to get them out of harm’s way.”

Outlaw told CBS News that they have “enough devastation that we have started a 24-hour curfew. It’s very dangerous to be out right now.”

As far as any deaths, Outlaw told CBS News they don’t believe there have been any fatalities.

“I do not have any at this time. I certainly and pray that there aren’t any,” he said.

There had been reports that 911 calls in the city were not going through, but Daniels said that’s not the case.

“911 is working. People can call 911, they are being answered. A lot of folks are using social media and we’re responding as quickly as we can on that.”

Around 14,200 customers were without power in New Bern as of 7 a.m. Friday.

The city’s water supply is stable and no boil water advisory is in place as of 2:30 a.m. Friday, city officials said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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