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Bonnie finally dissolves at sea

BY JIM SKILLINGTON | NORTH CAROLINA | August 31, 1998

NORTH CAROLINA (August 31, 1998) -- Before finally going out to sea Friday afternoon, Hurricane Bonnie

smashed into the Virginia tidewater region tearing down trees, utility

lines and damaging homes and apartments. Two deaths were attributed to the

storm.

By Sunday morning, the storm that inched across the Carolinas and

Virginia last week, was galloping into the northern Atlantic and had become

an extratropical low pressure system.

Although hundreds of homes from South Carolina to Virginia were damaged,

local officials said they have been surprised how little destruction was

left by the storm.

"We could not be more relieved," said Richard Moore, North Carolina's

secretary of public safety. "For whatever reason, the winds did

not do as much damage as expected."

And while utility crews and government agencies began to restore power

and other utilities, faith-based disaster relief organizations were

beginning the process to determine the most effective long-term response.

Emergency officials in North Carolina have begun to compile preliminary

reports of damage caused by the hurricane.

Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR), Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, and

the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) are among the

organizations that have already sent grants to North Carolina communities.

Other organizations are beginning to assess future needs in the affected

communities.

Gil Furst, LDR's director, and Charles Moeller, regional disaster

facilitator of Church World Service (CWS) were among those assisting

assessment teams.

According to preliminary reports, the most damage occurred in the inland

counties away from the coast that are normally not affected by Atlantic

coast hurricanes.

Generators for sewage treatment plants in several communities failed

during the storm releasing raw or partially treated sewage into area

streams.

Officials in Calabash in Brunswick County said at least 150 homes

received significant damage and other communities in the largely rural

county were still totalling losses. Carteret County also reported

significant damage.

LDR, which is coordinating local services through North Carolina

Lutheran Family Services, brought in a psychologist Saturday (Aug. 29) to give

pastors tips on administering emotional aid to survivors.

On Thursday President Clinton declared North Carolina a disaster area.

The declaration means that aid will be available to homeowners, businesses

and local governments that sustained damage from the storm. Ten counties --

Beaufort, Brunswick, Cateret, Currituck, Dare, Hyde, New Hanover, Onslow,

Pamlico and Pender -- were declared eligible for

Individual Family Grants.

The hurricane season's fourth storm, Hurricane Danielle, appears to be

on a track that will steer it away from the U.S. coast hurricane

forecasters said Sunday night. Meanwhile, weather officials were watching

two tropical disturbances strengthening in the Carribean.

Updated August 31, 1998


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