Gov. Cooper visits Bertie County after tornado kills 2, destroys homes

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WINDSOR, N.C. (WNCT) – Governor Roy Cooper says he’s stunned by the extent of the destruction in a Bertie County community.

On Wednesday, Governor Cooper toured the mobile home park just south of Windsor seeing what a tornado had done.

Governor Cooper says Bertie County is facing a long road to recovery, but he wants people here to know the state won’t forget them, and what they’ve lost because of Isaias.

“This is devastating to see. I know that a lot of people are happy to be alive after this happened but now they’ve got to pick up the pieces and it’s going to be tough for them,” Cooper says. 

James Gordan is one of them. 

He explains, “Well really it’s still shocking but the worst part wasn’t actually the storm itself but it was the after-effects.”

With less damage to his home, he started helping neighbors. 

“Our home was a place for shelter for those because we had to bring in the sick, we had to bring in the hurt and everything and you know we’re just grateful for that,” he says. 

Michael Sprayberry is North Carolina’s Emergency Management Director.

He says recovery won’t just be a short-term measure.

“Some of these people have lost their entire homes entirely and so not only do we need to be thinking about temporary housing we have to think about permanent sustainable housing,” states Sprayberry.  

He says local officials are assessing the damage.

Then it’s up to FEMA to issue a federal disaster declaration. 

Rep. G.K. Butterfield says, “It is my hope and prayer that FEMA will approve this request and get the resources down to the local level as quickly as they can.” 

But this tornado took more than houses.

It killed 62-year-old Randolph Harrell and 52-year-old Lethia Ann Edwards who’s being remembered and mourned.

“I’m going to miss her, I’m going to miss seeing her, passing by blowing the horn when she come in from work stuff like that,” says family member Steven Swain

Governor Roy Cooper says the tornado and its aftermath also highlight the need for affordable housing and health care. 

He’s promising to address those issues in the near future.

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