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Hurricane Recovery in a Pandemic: An Interview with Wilmington Emergency Management

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Some businesses were shuttered Monday, Aug. 3 and Tuesday, Aug. 4 -- whether in storm preparation, or permanent closure from the pandemic.

Impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias remain in the Cape Fear Region, including the City of Wilmington. Natosha Tew is Wilmington's Emergency Management Coordinator. She spoke with WHQR about storm recovery efforts in the city. 

"Natosha, thank you for joining us today."

“Hi, thanks for having me.”

"Last year's Hurricane Dorian seemed to hit the region less hard than we all anticipated. So how did Isaias compare to that storm? Was the city prepared?"

“I believe we were. This storm presented unique challenges with the current coronavirus that is going on. But we have taken the lessons that we've learned since Florence and Dorian and made good use of them, and applied them. I think that it went quite smoothly.”

"Yes, with the COVID-19 pandemic, I'm sure there were complications -- what were some of those complications due to the pandemic we're living in right now?"

“Well keep in mind that a lot of folks that work and when activated at the emergency operations center, are folks with a lot of experience, which would tend to lead to those folks in those higher-risk populations. And it's very packed in here. So we've had to make accommodations to reduce that risk of exposure by encouraging everyone to take the precautions and reduce the number of people that actually report to the EOC. 

Fortunately for us, this storm did not require all hands on deck for response. We were able to manage all the incidents that came up with what we had. And I should say the county made use of the enormous building that they have and spread it out to accommodate for social distancing.”

"And what do residents need to know right now to stay safe, in these couple last seconds we have here?"

“We still have over 45,000 customers of Duke that are without power. I just want to encourage everyone to remain home. Don't try to drive around tonight. Once the sun goes down, there are still several intersections that don't have power. Remember your four-way stops. Also keep in mind that as the power starts coming on, things that were left on will come back on -- just use the utmost caution at all times and try not to grill or cook in your house. Try to do that all outside.”

"With me has been Wilmington Emergency Management Coordinator, Natosha Tew. Thanks for talking to me, Natosha."

“Thanks for having me.”