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Tribal members affected by Hurricane Sandy

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 13th, 2012

Curtis Harris/Courtesy photo
Hurricane Sandy caused significant damage to the car and home of Curtis Harris, San Carlos Apache tribal member, who lives in Montclair, New Jersey.  This photo shows a downed tree on top of his garage and in the background are broken power lines.

New Jersey — Curtis Harris, and his nephew Zachary Harris, both San Carlos Apache tribal members living in New Jersey, will receive some much needed assistance from the San Carlos Apache Tribe as they try to recover financially after Hurricane Sandy devastated their community and home earlier this month.

The Harris home is in Montclair, which is 18 miles northwest of New York City. Hurricane Sandy, the second costliest Atlantic hurricane after Hurricane Katrina, caused $52.4 billion in damages in several states but hit New Jersey and New York the hardest.

The elder Harris, who is the son of the late Naomi Swift Harris, and his nephew hunkered down in their home during the storm. “The wind was fierce and it was especially eerie to see the blue flashes as electric wires snapped in the wind. The next morning, trees of all sizes were down,” said Harris.

Fallen trees caused significant damage to Harris’ garage and car. The storm left him and 2.7 million New Jersey citizens without power for nearly two weeks. “We have been without heat or electricity and we don’t know when the power will be turned back on. We have not had any way to fix meals,” said Harris. Due to flooding and lack of power, officials shut down the subways, buses and train service, making it tough to get around.

The recent northeastern storm dumped as much as a foot of snow, which slowed down recovery efforts. Harris, who is the Manager of Faculty Sponsored Research Grants at Barnard College and a graduate of Louisiana State University, says he is grateful to the San Carlos Tribal Council.

“I’ve never asked for assistance from the tribe but I’m feeling overwhelmed right now. I can’t thank them enough,” said Harris.

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