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UNC Hurricane Shelter Housing Hundreds From Across The State

Beatriz Jerlen Covarrubias-Rivera relaxes on a Red Cross cot with her four sons, ages 2 to 10, while staying at a shelter operated by the Red Cross at E.B. Aycock Middle School on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018.
Adam Jennings
American Red Cross
File photo of the Covarrubias-Rivera family at a Red Cross shelter at E.B. Aycock Middle School on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018.

Governor Roy Cooper is reminding North Carolinians to find a safe place to stay as torrential rain and flooding continues to pummel parts of the state. For some, that safe place to stay may be another night at a shelter far away from home, like the UNC shelter in Chapel Hill.

The UNC Friday Center-turned-evacuation shelter looks almost like a Greyhound bus depot during the day – dozens of people pouring in from across the state while others are loading up to see what’s left of their homes. Rebecca Muse of Onslow County is one of them.

“I’ve seen it and it’s not great. But we’ll deal with it. That’s all we can do. We’re going baby. Come on buddy," Muse motioned to her two dogs.

It’s been a rough ride for Muse. She was taken to a shelter in Knightdale and Garner before coming to Chapel Hill. Plus, she has been travelling with two service dogs – a dalmatian shepherd and a labrador.

“We’ve had multiple transfers. It’s been very difficult for them to recognize the service dogs even with registrations," said Muse.

And except for service dogs, pets have to stay in a trailer outside of the Friday Center.  

Rashaunda Dickens from Morehead City, and her four children, are also at the shelter, including four-month-old baby Genesis.

Dickens has received text messages and pictures of her home. She says water made it to the second floor. Dickens doesn’t know what she’s going to do.

“I like Morehead for my children, we got accustomed and used to it. So as of right now, I don’t know," said Dickens.  "Just waiting to see like, what the water does.”

Dianna Van Horn is a spokesperson for the Red Cross, which is operating the state’s shelter at UNC. She says they can hold only 500 people. Van Horn is not sure how long the shelter will remain open.

"We don’t know at this point," said Van Horn. "It’s too soon to tell, because I know a lot of places are still flooding, so we have no idea."

Statewide, more than 15,000 people have taken refuge in shelters.

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