Fleeing a fragile home as Florence bears down

With Hurricane

Florence poised to slam into the US east coast, vulnerable residents of a

mobile-home park near the picturesque city of Wilmington were hurriedly

packing their belongings, not knowing if they'd have a roof over their heads

upon their return.

Nestled between the Cape Fear river and the Atlantic Ocean, the Royal

Palms Mobile Home Park could pass for a summer camp ground, at first glance.

In reality, it houses low-income families who cannot afford to live

elsewhere, in precarious wooden structures only a few hundred square feet in


Affordable living near the beach! declares its budget website.

As winds began picking up around noon on Wednesday announcing Florence's

imminent arrival, volunteers from a local Hispanic church were knocking on

every door urging residents to seek refuge elsewhere.

Resident Oscar Perez said he made up his mind up a while ago � to get


These mobile homes are very fragile, and with a category 4 hurricane on

the way, we have no choice but to leave, said the landscaper of Mexican

origin who has lived in the US for more than a decade. The storm has since

been downgraded to category 2.

We are going to bring something to eat to survive for a few days with the

kids. We do not know what to expect, said Perez.

The main thing is to stay alive. Material things are secondary, he said

while holding a board he was about to place on one of the windows of his pre-

fab home.

� As far as possible

In the road running through the mobile home park, the trunk of Alondra

Espinoza's car is full.

Everything is packed, we're ready to leave, she said, as the voice of a

child is heard from inside the car.

I've been through hurricanes before but never with kids, said Espinoza.

If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have minded staying here. But this time

is different. I want to get them as far away as possible from here and the

danger or the hurricane.

Espinoza hopes her home is intact when she gets back but is prepared for

the worst.

We would stay with my brother until we find another place to live, said


Her neighbor Diego Hernandez is getting ready to head for a hotel in the

city center with his family. They have taken the trouble of hoisting their

furniture up off the floor in case of flooding.

The recent high school graduate says he is taking with him just the

essentials � food, clothes and whatever electronic gear he can carry.

To be honest, I don't really know how to feel. But I know it's going to be

bad. So I know it's going to be emotional and all that.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)