Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Edith Warren, August 28, 2002. Interview K-0601. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Smaller counties were at a disadvantage as they tried to rebuild

Smaller counties were at a disadvantage as they tried to rebuild after the hurricane, Warren argues.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Edith Warren, August 28, 2002. Interview K-0601. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

From what I remember reading about the possibility of rescinding this money, it seems like some state officials had the view that some of the local communities were dragging their feet, they hadn't spent all their recovery money yet, so do they really need it? And I'm wondering about the obstacles and the challenges that local communities that are really rural, that don't have a lot of resources, may face in trying to navigate all the bureaucracy, get all the paperwork together, they may not have a lot of manpower, sophistication. What do you see?
EDITH WARREN:
That is a good summation, because the larger counties would have staff, they would have the personnel, more know-how because of the experiences in dealing with a larger county. Our very small rural counties, like the Greene Counties, would not have access to those resources. They would not have access to the processes, staff, to implement these kinds of programs, and the time and the manpower. So for those areas, it would take longer to get the pieces put together. And when you have had pretty much your whole county underwater, you are dealing with large numbers of pieces that have to be put together. Some locales – Farmville, the town of Farmville, got its project completed and presented for consideration first. Well, that could easily be done because we were talking about one neighborhood. We were talking about smaller numbers. So that made a considerable difference, you know, if you're dealing with, say, sixteen houses in a buyout package, where others are dealing with hundreds of them. So the logistics of the process has been certainly overwhelming. And we have learned a lot. Some things I'm sure will be done quite different next time, under any kind of disaster. And yet there were some things that were in place, like the immediate emergency response. I've observed the helicopter work in Greenville. The Forestry Service was in charge of that command center, and to see them put into work the logistical process of getting supplies out into the rural areas, and knowing that you can't get from here to there except by boat or by helicopter, and to see that command process move so very smoothly and so very rapidly, was wonderful, that we had that kind of expertise that could go on the ground immediately and make that kind of response. We have learned along the way some of our other processes would work smoother next time, because we have learned some logistics in the process, of handling the paperwork and how you would go about applications, and who would do that and do it well. So we would certainly have information to share from North Carolina with others who have a need.