Coronavirus delays Hurricane Florence repairs

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A viral pandemic is now affecting victims of a natural disaster.

Some still waiting for repairs from Hurricane Florence after a year and a half must now wait even longer thanks to coronavirus.

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“In the region, there are over 300, I think 325 today, Florence home repair jobs still to do,” said Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry or WARM Executive Director JC Lyle.

Several groups planning to spend Spring Break in the Cape Fear working on damaged houses have now canceled their trips, and even more cancellations are expected.

“Because of the restrictions that universities have put on travel and just some people being nervous about travel in general, we’ve had some cancellations already and we’ve had other people calling that we expect to cancel,” Lyle said.

Thanks to the cancellations, at least five homes damaged by Florence will remain that way for a while longer. Lyle says many of those still in need are among the most vulnerable.

“The disabled, the elderly, folks who are living on $800 a month of social security,” Lyle said. “They really have no other options, especially if they were under-insured.”

Lyle is now asking anyone local to pitch in. She says you don’t need any construction skills.

“You just have to have a willing heart and willing hands,” she said.

She also says WARM is taking its own precautions to prevent the spread of disease among volunteers.

“Making sure our tools are disinfected, if somebody is experiencing some kind of respiratory illness symptoms, we’ll ask them to wear a mask.”

Click here to find out how you can volunteer with WARM.