Friday, 14 September 2018 09:44

48 Flock to Richmond Senior High School to take Shelter from Hurricane Florence

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Two green cots sit between locker rows the shelter set up at Richmond Senior High School late Thursday. As of 9 p.m., the shelter was nearly at half-capacity. Two green cots sit between locker rows the shelter set up at Richmond Senior High School late Thursday. As of 9 p.m., the shelter was nearly at half-capacity. William R. Toler

ROCKINGHAM — Nearly 50 people decided to take refuge from Hurricane Florence at Richmond Senior High School before 9 p.m. Thursday.

The county opened the school as a shelter at 1 p.m. and had checked in 48 people — and one dog — according to Social Services Director Robby Hall. He added that the shelter can house up to 100.

There was one person waiting when the shelter opened its doors and there was a “steady trickle all day long,” according to Hall.

“We had some come and stay for a while and decided they wanted to leave,” he said. “They said they might come back later.”

Green cots with Red Cross blankets were lined in the hallway near the cafeteria and between the lockers of the D Pod.

Peggy Ruth of Hamlet said she came to the shelter because she lives in a  single-wide mobile home, was “very worried” about the wind “and I knew it would be safe and better for me to come to a place that would keep me safe.”

Shelter Rules Credit: William R. Toler

“This the first time ever in my life I had to go to a shelter,” she said, “but I feel very welcome and everybody is making us feel at home.”

Ruth is “very prepared” to hunker down for a few days. She brought her own comforter and pillow, medicines and snacks.

By 8:45, some of the evacuees were asleep while others read a newspaper, scrolled on their phones or watched “Independence Day” —  which was playing in theaters when Hurricane Bertha hit in 1996. Family Video donated the sci-fi flick, along with several other family friendly films.

Dog food was also provided by Mercantile on Broad.

Area of Richmond Transit will provide transportation to anyone who wants to go to the shelter, Hall said.

“ART has been steadily picking people up,” he said. The vans are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and will be ready to take people to the shelter.

Hall said the school’s lunch ladies are also camped out at the shelter and preparing three meals a day and snacks throughout, using the same food that is provided to the students.

The shelter is being run by Richmond County Emergency Services and staffed by Hall’s department. The Health Department also has nurses on site to tend to medical needs and Daymark is providing mental health services.

“We’ll stay open as long as we’re needed,” Hall said, adding that Emergency Management would make the call when to close it.

To have an ART van pick you up and take you to the shelter, call 910-895-1313.