WBTV Speak Out Editorial: Hurricane Matthew Relief

"Speak Out" is an expression of opinion from the Editorial Board of WBTV, and is presented by General Manager, Scott Dempsey.

Right now, more than 1,500 people in North Carolina are still waiting for help following the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.  Some of them are in FEMA trailers built for temporary refuge, while others have just given up and moved back into their moldy, damaged homes without power.

The federal government approved $236 million worth of relief, but the state has yet to spend any of it because of a slow-moving bureaucracy.  Meanwhile, South Carolina benefitted from similar relief funding and is already moving families back into their restored homes.

WBTV News has been pushing the North Carolina Department of Public Safety's Emergency Management division for answers about this for months.  But, they refuse to talk to us.

More specifically, they refuse to talk to investigative journalist Nick Ochsner who's followed the story from the beginning.

In fact, they've said as much, saying they'll talk to any reporter *but* Nick and using P-R people and even the General Assembly's police force to block his efforts to get you public information you deserve.

It's childish and cowardly of officials in Raleigh to dictate petty terms for being interviewed or use officers of the law to keep information from our viewers.

North Carolina's leaders should be ashamed of how they're failing the citizens whose lives were upended by Hurricane Matthew.

Tell us what YOU think. SpeakOut@wbtv.com.