Thousands of Georgia residents waiting to return home after Hurricane Matthew

The entrance to St. Simons Island remained closed Sunday evening because authorities say it's too dangerous for residents to return.

GLYNN COUNTY, Georgia - The entrance to St. Simons Island remained closed Sunday evening because authorities say it's too dangerous for residents to return. 

"We have raw sewage in the streets," said Glynn County Commission Chair Richard Strickland. "It's a public safety hazard." 

Glynn County officials say 80 percent of the barrier island's sewer system is non-operational. Crews are working to restore electricity to the community's sewer plant and are cleaning debris off the island's streets.

"We want to go back, but we want to make sure it is safe to go back," said St. Simon's resident Brittany LaRoche, who has been staying in a hotel ever since the storm. "We don't want to go back in complete chaos."

For those who stayed behind on the island, county officials say there is a boil water notice because the drinking water is contaminated.

Elsewhere in Glynn County, evacuees started to return to their neighborhoods.

"I was ready to come home," said Jerome Mosley of Brunswick, Ga.  He rode out Hurricane Matthew in a Red Cross Shelter. "I wanted to see how the town is, you know."

Mosley's neighborhood was full of downed trees and downed power lines.

As of late Sunday night, Georgia Power said it still had 140,000 customers without electricity.

At a press conference Sunday afternoon, Georgia's governor and Glynn County officials apologized for a miscommunication that kept evacuees from coming back.

"We have made some mistakes, we learned from those mistakes," said Strickland, pointing out it had been 118 years since the county last experienced a hurricane.

After state officials lifted the evacuation order for Glynn County yesterday, local law enforcement officials kept up road blocks and turned away thousands of people who tried to come home.

The confusion angered many residents.

"I think it was an inconvenience and we apologize," said Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. "It was being extra cautious."


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