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Want To Help Victims of Hurricane Matthew? Avoid Routes With Closures if Driving To Coast

Compiled by Jesse Wood

From the Caribbean to the United States, Hurricane Matthew has killed hundreds since being classified as a Hurricane in late September. Read about the storm’s formation and travel here.

So far the death toll has climbed to 43, according to ABC News. In North Carolina, hundreds of thousands of people were without power on the eastern part of the state. That total is now down to about 19,000, according to state emergency management officials.

For those visiting the coast in the coming days or those that want to help those affected by the storm, read below. Also check out Samaritan’s Purse, a local nonprofit that’s helping out.

Donate wisely to help Hurricane Matthew victims, AG Cooper urges
Scammers likely to pose as charities after disaster in North Carolina and abroad

Give generously to Hurricane Matthew relief efforts but look out for charity scams, Attorney General Roy Cooper urged North Carolinians today.

NCDOJ“Hurricane Matthew devastated families and communities from North Carolina to Haiti, and many of us want to help,” Cooper said. “Unfortunately, scammers may try to take advantage of our generosity and keep those donations for themselves.”

Relief efforts are currently underway to aid victims of the disaster in the U.S. and abroad. While Cooper’s office has not yet received complaints about fraudulent fundraising efforts following Hurricane Matthew, previous natural disasters have shown that charity scams are likely to come. Cooper encouraged North Carolinians to give generously to hurricane victims but to be wary of solicitations from phony charities.

On October 4, Hurricane Matthew struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti at Category 4 strength, flattening homes, flooding streets, and killing hundreds of people. Matthew traveled up the east coast, finally making landfall as a Category 1 storm in South Carolina. Matthew then dumped inches of rain on North Carolina, washing away roads, flooding homes and businesses, and causing loss of life.

“Please consider helping victims if you can, but make sure your donation goes where it will do the most good,” Cooper said. “Research charities before you give, and report charity scams to my office.”
To give wisely and avoid charity scams:

Know how to spot fake charities. Charity scams often use names that are very close to the names of real charities, non-profits or even law enforcement agencies. If you want to donate, contact the real charity or organization at a website or phone number you know to be valid.

Decide who you want to give to. Instead of responding to solicitations to make a donation, especially from telemarketers who may keep as much as 90 percent of the money they collect, decide which charities you want to support and contact them directly. If you’re giving to relief efforts here in North Carolina, consider giving to groups you already know do good work in your community.

Do your research. Visit give.org to see if national charities meet the standards set by the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, and charitywatch.org for ratings of charities by the American Institute of Philanthropy. You can also look into charities through guidestar.org and charitynavigator.org.

Stick with established charities. Brand new charities often pop up after natural disasters. Some may be legitimate, but others may be scams or just too poorly organized to be effective. In general it’s best to give to charities with an established track record for using donations wisely.

Be wary of any charity that won’t answer your questions. If someone refuses to answer questions about how they will use your donation, it may be a scam. If you’re not sure, check out the charity by calling the North Carolina Secretary of State’s Office at 1-888-830‑4989 or visit sosnc.gov/CSL.

Don’t respond to unsolicited emails and text messages asking you to give. Even if the message looks legitimate, it could be a phishing scam. These messages may include links to websites that look legitimate but are really set up to trick you into donating.

Avoid pushy telemarketers. Telemarketers that refuse to answer your questions, offer to pick up your donation or pressure you are usually up to no good. Also, some telemarketers keep up to 90 percent of the money they collect for charities. Your money will go further if you give directly to the real charity, not to hired fundraisers.

Be careful about donating through social media posts. The cause may sound worthy, but verify how the money is going to be used before you give.

Consider crowdfunding requests very carefully. Crowdfunding sites allow people to raise money for causes and projects online, but they can be misused by scammers. Make sure you know who you’re donating to and how the funds will be used, and ask how much of your donation would go to the crowdfunding site instead of the cause

Don’t give cash. Cash gifts can be lost or stolen. For security and tax record purposes, it’s best to pay by credit card. If you pay by check, make it out to the charity itself, not the fundraiser.

Protect your personal information. Never give your credit card or bank account number to someone you don’t know who contacts you for any reason. If someone calls you asking for a credit card, bank account or Social Security number, avoid giving to them—it could be a scam.

For more tips on giving to charity or to report potential scams, contact the Attorney General’s Office by calling 1-877- 5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint at ncdoj.gov.
Link: Donate wisely to help Hurricane Matthew victims, AG Cooper urges

Travelers Headed to the N.C. Coast Asked to Avoid Routes with Closures,
Flooding from Neuse and Tar rivers impacting major highways

Travelers needing to visit North Carolina beaches this weekend are advised to plan ahead and avoid routes that are closed due to flooding or damage from Hurricane Matthew. Several rivers in the eastern part of the state will remain in major flood stage through the weekend, and flooding continues to impact hundreds of primary and secondary roads.

Major eastbound routes affected by the flooding include U.S. 70 in Lenoir County, where the road is closed between N.C. 58 and U.S. 258 and U.S. 64 in Edgecombe County, between Princeville and SR 1606.

Crews from the N.C. Department of Transportation will continue to place barricades on closed roads and mark detours with signs. Governor Pat McCrory and safety officials urge motorists not to drive through floodwaters or around barricades. Damage to barricaded roads may not be visible from the surface, even if the roadway appears dry.

Drivers should not rely on GPS devices for information about road closures and detour information.  Call 511 for real-time travel information or 877-511-4662 if calling from outside North Carolina.

Check the ReadyNC mobile app, which also has real-time shelter and evacuation information. Dial 211 to speak with a trained call specialist about Hurricane Matthew assistance in your area; the service is free, confidential and available in any language. For updates on Hurricane Matthew impacts and relief efforts, go to ReadyNC.org or follow N.C. Emergency Management on Twitter and Facebook. People or organizations that want to help ensure North Carolina recovers can visit NCdisasterrelief.org or text NCRecovers to 30306.

Donate to reputable organizations for Hurricane Matthew relief

People from all walks of life are reaching out, seeking ways to assist victims and communities devastated by Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina.

Those wishing to help should make donations to well-established, charitable organizations assisting the disaster relief effort. Organizations on the ground know what items and quantities are needed, often buy in bulk with discounts and, if possible, purchase through area businesses which supports economic recovery in the disaster area.

Unlike material donations, financial contributions entail no additional costs.

On Tuesday, Governor McCrory activated the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund for Hurricane Matthew to support long-term recovery efforts in partnership with the United Way of North Carolina. People or organizations who want to help can visit NCdisasterrelief.org or text NCRecovers to 30306.

In addition to the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund, donors can support members of the North Carolina Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NCVOAD) that are helping people affected by Hurricane Matthew. Visit ncvoad.org for a list of member organizations actively assisting survivors.

While donated resources are vital to meet the needs of victims, managing those donations is necessary to control the flow of goods and services into the disaster areas. Uncontrolled shipments of donated goods could potentially place an undue burden on disaster operations and compete for scarce resources, such as warehouse space and manpower for unloading and distribution. Because of this, it is important to coordinate your giving and volunteering through established relief organizations.

North Carolina state government does not directly receive, nor accept, cash or other donations.

Dial 2-1-1 to speak with a trained call specialist about Hurricane Matthew assistance in your area; the service is free, confidential and available in any language. Call 5-1-1 for the latest road conditions or check the ReadyNC mobile app, which also has real-time shelter and evacuation information. For updates on Hurricane Matthew impacts and relief efforts, go to ReadyNC.org or follow N.C. Emergency Management on Twitter and Facebook. People or organizations that want to help ensure North Carolina recovers can visit NCdisasterrelief.orgor text NCRecovers to 30306.