SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Tropical Storm Florence has claimed at least five lives. Some towns have received more than two feet of rainfall since the deluge began, which has caused catastrophic flooding as the storm moves further inland. Hundreds of people have been rescued from their homes in the coastal town of New Bern, N.C., where a mandatory evacuation order was placed this week. Danielle Cayton is a resident of New Bern, and she left her home on her own when it began to flood. Thanks very much for being with us, Ms. Cayton.
DANIELLE CAYTON: Thank you for having me.
SIMON: And how did you get out?
CAYTON: We actually had a four-wheel-drive vehicle, and we left - my son and my boyfriend and his child - we left and we came to his residence, which is on higher ground. But we had to leave two other vehicles behind. We lost a Impala and a Chevrolet full-sized truck.
SIMON: When you say you lost, you assume they've been deluged and swept...
CAYTON: When - he had to go back in - I guess it was around midnight Thursday evening - and had to rescue his parents, who were in the same neighborhood. And he made it back to my house by walking or treading through chest-deep water. And my Impala was completely submerged. And he had left the truck for his parents, and they left the truck there, and it was submerged with water, too.
SIMON: But his parents, your children, his child - you're OK.
CAYTON: Yes, we're all OK. We're all safe. We're at his house in James City, thank goodness.
SIMON: Yeah. I'm told you left after the evacuation order. May I ask why?
CAYTON: We made the decision to stay based on the fact that all of the ATMs were out of cash, there was a gas shortage, monetary reasons and concerns of not being able to get back in. I have my father, who is in a nursing facility fighting Stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma, and I was really concerned about what would happen with him.
SIMON: How is your father? How is your father, may I ask?
CAYTON: As far as I know - I spoke with him last night - they're running off of generators. They have plenty of food, so he's comfortable, and everybody in the facility is OK.
SIMON: Ms. Cayton, what's going through your mind now? What are you weighing? What are you considering?
CAYTON: I'm kind of numb at the moment - just scared to death as far as how we're going to get this little area back on track. I know we will. I know everybody's - you know, this community is wonderful as far as banding together and trying to get things done and helping. But, you know, daily life is definitely going to change. There are several people who have lived here their entire life and been through several hurricanes. I'm originally from South Carolina. I lived in South Florida, so I've dealt with several hurricanes myself. But while this probably is not the worst storm that I've ever been through, the devastation that this storm has produced has certainly been the worst that I've witnessed. Like, there's three feet of water inside my house. So trying to figure out what's next as far as do we apply for FEMA immediately, do I contact insurance immediately - we're trying to just make the best decisions but also, you know, trying to figure out as far as food and keeping additional people healthy and whatnot. So it's pretty devastating to this little area.
SIMON: Danielle Cayton speaking from New Bern, N.C., thank you so much for making the time to speak with us. We're very grateful.
CAYTON: Yes, sir, thank you.
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