National Guard headed to Puerto Rico for Maria recovery help

Damage from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, Photo Date: 9/20/17

RALEIGH, NC (WITN) - North Carolina is sending help to hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico.

Governor Roy Cooper has okayed sending 200 North Carolina Army National Guard engineers to help with recovery efforts.

The soldiers are assigned to the 105th Engineer Battalion "Task Force Rhino" headquartered in Raeford.

The governor says an advance team will depart this weekend, while the rest of the engineers will be deploying next week.

They are expected to be in Puerto Rico for 30 days, but could be there longer if needed.

"When our state was devastated with severe flooding during Hurricane Matthew last year, many states came to our assistance in our time of need", said Governor Cooper. "Now it's our turn to provide aid to fellow citizens in Puerto Rico."

The governor says the task force will help clearing debris from roads and making quick road repairs that will allow aid groups to reach hard hit areas.