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UNC launches $2 million emergency fund for students affected by Florence

Before and after imagery shows flooding from Florence northeast of Wallace, NC

Before and after imagery shows the impact of Hurricane Florence on in the Wallace, N.C. area. This video shows NC Hwy 41 and Northeast Road. (No audio)
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Before and after imagery shows the impact of Hurricane Florence on in the Wallace, N.C. area. This video shows NC Hwy 41 and Northeast Road. (No audio)

UNC-Chapel Hill has created a $2 million emergency fund to support UNC students affected by Hurricane Florence, university officials announced Thursday.

Chancellor Carol Folt said the pool of money will consist of $1 million in revenue from the sale of UNC trademarked items and the rest from private fundraising.

“We really want to send that clear message that we’re really here for our students,” Folt said. “We know an event like this can put stresses that were not there before on families, and we want to make sure that we do everything possible to support them through that.”

The fund will be able to provide emergency help to students whose families were hit hard by the hurricane. That could include, for example, money for books, food or traveling home.

It’s part of a larger effort to assist students experiencing financial hardship because of the storm. The university has also opened a Student Success Hub, a dedicated office to help students. Affected students can go to Room 2416 at the Carolina Union or send an email to florence@unc.edu.

Over 600 roads remain closed in NC, with waters continuing to rise across the eastern part of the state. NCDOT has been flying over many flooded areas capturing the devastating effect of Hurricane Florence.

Desiree Rieckenberg, a senior associate dean, said about 200 students have already sought help from the university.

The office’s special advisers can guide students through any bureaucratic issues or roadblocks to continuing their education, Rieckenberg said. Aid will be tailored to individual students’ needs.

She described the situation of one student from near Wilmington whose parents have lost their jobs due to the storm.

“Right now she is being faced with a new reality, one in which she’s trying to figure out how she is going to help them,” Rieckenberg said.

Jane Stancill: 919-829-4559; @janestancill

President Donald Trump arrives in Havelock, N.C. to assess the devastation left by Florence in the Carolinas. He is expected to receive briefings and view damage throughout the day.

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