Hurricane Florence swept up the eastern United States coast and slowly moved through North Carolina as a tropical storm in September 2018. Producing twenty to thirty inches of rain, Florence caused dangerous flooding, displacement, and widespread wind damage and power outages. While coastal areas were hard hit by the storm, many impoverished in-land areas spanning multiple river basins were also heavily flooded. Although the winds have ceased and the waters receded, the disaster continues to unfold in bureaucratic contexts with uneven effects temporally and spatially for affected locals. Local organizations and the Federal Emergency Management Agency assess damages, process funding applications, and work to rebuild. Drawing on ten months of ethnographic research in Cumberland County, NC, we illuminate the ways in which the temporality of bureaucratic processes is a form of bureaucratic violence that exacerbates suffering in the context of crisis and how local organizations attempt to recover and rebuild in the face of pervasive top-down bureaucratic obstacles.

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