As people across the southeast United StatesĀ contend with the damage left by Hurricane Matthew, communities of low-income people and people of colorĀ areĀ feeling the pain disproportionately.

In North Carolina, residents of low-income towns in areas includingĀ Robeson, Edgecombe, and Moore counties are struggling in the wake of the storm,Ā The Washington PostĀ reports.

The state's overall poverty levels place it 39th in the countryā€“16.4% of all North Carolinians live below the poverty line, according to U.S. Census Bureau's 2015 estimate. In some parts of the counties hit by Hurricane Matthew, up to 31% of residents lived below the poverty line before the storm. Now, as they deal with theĀ destruction ofĀ their homesĀ andĀ loss of income, the stormĀ could have a serious impact on their long-term livelihoodsā€”rebuilding homes or finding new ones, paying medical bills, and recovering from missing days or even weeks of work will be an uphill battle for those with lowerĀ incomes.Ā Close to a third (29.8%)Ā of Native American people, 27.1% of black people, and 34.2% of Latinxs in North Carolina fall into that category, according to 2012 census data.

Robeson County is one example of a part of the state where the disaster has taken a toll onĀ communitiesĀ of color: the area's residents are 39.9% Native American or Alaskan native; 24.4% are black; and 33.1% of residents liveĀ in poverty. The average annual income of Robeson County residents from 2010ā€“2014 was $15,460ā€“just above the $11,945 poverty line for individuals inĀ North Carolina.

ā€œWhen a flood like this hits, the pain of it is exacerbated by the poverty,ā€ the Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, told theĀ Post. ā€œWhat weā€™re talking about, particularly in eastern Carolina, are some of the poorest communities in the country ā€” black and white, who already had economic challenges before something like this.ā€


Jordan ā€œForgeā€ Chavis, a 34-year-old Native American DJĀ fromĀ Pembroke, a town in Robeson County, began to documentĀ theĀ situationĀ and its impact on his community on Twitter:


Many of these counties have not seen the last of dangerousĀ conditions. With rainfall predictedĀ this week, at least two bodies of waterā€“the Neuse River in Kinston and the Tar River in Tarboroā€“are expected to rise to record levels this week, threatening nearby townsĀ with even more flooding.

With nearly half of North Carolinaā€™s counties in a state of emergency, relief services run by state agencies and local and national nonprofits are providing, shelter, food, and clothing to those affected by the flooding.Ā The Red Cross currently has 72 shelters in operation throughout the state, housing upward of 1,800 people. State officials say they have 52 shelters holding more than 4,300 residents.Ā Makeshift shelters have been set up at local schools throughout the affected areas.

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory urged people in evacuation zones to leave their homes.Ā "We've had too many deaths. Get out!," he said Wednesday. "Once that water flows it's too late."