OCEAN ISLE BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - Nearly a week since an EF-3 tornado pummeled parts of Brunswick County, work crews are still trying to clear away much of the wreckage left behind.
Cleanup from the tornado is very different from operations launched after past hurricanes.
The biggest task at hand is cleaning up thousands of downed trees, and clearing away the home debris so ground crews can take stock of what’s left. It’s the first step in a journey that will take weeks to fully assess the damage and dispose of all the debris.
Crews and workers have already taken 60 large dumpsters of debris away and leaders say that’s barely scratched the surface.
While there’s significant work ahead for residents of Ocean Ridge Plantation and the area around Old Shallotte Road, there’s been no shortage of community members wanting to help.
In an attempt to better direct volunteers and donations, officials are asking people interested in helping to coordinate with Brunswick County VOAD. People needing help are asked to contact Brunswick Emergency Services.
“We’ve gotten so many different phone calls, emails, and it’s hard to keep them straight so we appreciate that Brunswick is helping us with that and we love the outpouring of help,” said Donna Ciliberto, Ocean Ridge Plantation Masters Association president. “The type of assistance that’s most needed is probably a lot less on the clothing and food side — we seem to be covered with that for now. We’re grateful for everything we’ve gotten so far but it’s more related to debris removal, tree cutting, cleanup, and removal.”
Ciliberto says the support has been incredible from churches and religious groups, the Red Cross, Spokes of Hope from South Carolina, and Christian Recovery Centers Inc.
The residents are also mobilizing to help their neighbors. Ciliberto says one homeowner whose roof collapsed over half their home actually showed up to the command center asking “How can I help?” and “What can I do for everyone else?”
“I want people to know that our neighborhood is a community that comes together and we will absolutely come out of this. We definitely need thoughts and prayers, good wishes, and the support that’s been coming in. But this community is so special; everybody will help lift each other up and we will happily lift up those around us as well outside of our gates,” added Ciliberto.