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Syracuse-area Relief Group Heads Back to NC to Repair Lingering Hurricane Damage

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Operation Northern Comfort
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UPDATE:  CEO Norm Andrzjewski has cancelled the North Carolina trip to focus the group's efforts on Oneida County, where the Hallowen 2019 storm caused significant damage.

A small Syracuse-area relief organization is heading back to North Carolina next month to continue its rebuilding efforts along the hurricane-ravaged coast.  CEO of Operation Northern Comfort Norm Andrzjewski says the group is looking for volunteers to make a trip to the Outer Banks, which was hit by hurricanes Florence and Michael in 2018. 

He says two years later, there is still work to be done, even on inland properties.

"The water backed up in one of the rivers leading to the ocean, and a couple of communities in that neighborhood really got devastated. It's to the point where, currently, there are probably 500 homes that need work in the north-eastern part of North Carolina on the ocean."

It’s not uncommon for Operation Northern Comfort to revisit areas they have already aided. Andrzjewski says most of the damage is no longer visible; their work is mostly indoors.

"On our last trip, which was in January, we worked on two houses where we had to rebuild flooring, and then re-do insulation, sheetrock and paneling. You can't see that stuff from the outside, but the people who live there and are now back in their homes see it clearly."

Andrzjewski says about ten people will make the trip, and split up into teams of five to work on two or three houses during the weeklong stay.  He said there has been some government aid, but families still need help.

"North Carolina has provided some state funding, there's some FEMA funding that has been sent there too. Basically, it's never been enough, especially for the poorer people who, for whatever reason, don't have access or don't know how to work the system. Those are the people we tend to work with."

Andrjewski says they're also aware of needs right here in Central New York; they'll be helping residents in the Oneida County town of Whitesboro to repair damage done by the 2019 Halloween storm. The cost of the trip is $200, which covers transportation, meals, and lodging.  More information can be found at operationnc.org