I have heard some horror stories in the past but this leaves me at a total loss. I cannot fathom the anguish the residents of New Jersey are going through. After living through storms and Floods myself the clean up takes a matter of a week for businesses and yes longer for homes. But then we have the government help and funding to help us. So why is it taking so long to help out the people of New Jersey?
One resident, Marjorie Feniello of Mantoloking, N.J is not sure whether she is better off having her house torn down or trying to salvage what is left. The 67-year-old is one of thousands of Jersey Shore residents trying to decide if moving on means tearing down or attempting to rebuild.
After Hurricane Sandy, 6 feet of water rose in her house here, her primary residence for 17 years. And despite the work going on around her home, Feniello says little has been accomplished in the rebuilding of her devastated town. “It still looks like Beirut if you go down there,” she said. “The town looks like it did after Sandy.”
Mantoloking suffered heavily when superstorm Sandy struck Oct. 29. And in a borough where houses were torn apart and tossed aside, the once pristine picture of million-dollar homes had to get worse before it could get better.
It has only been since May, that officials here have focused on tearing down homes that were damaged so thoroughly that they could not be spared, including one that was picked up and thrown as is into Barnegat Bay.
Chris Nelson, liaison to the Borough Council and mayor said, “As of Tuesday, 50 houses had been demolished, and only two remained on the town’s to-demo list. It looks different,” Nelson said, struggling slightly to describe his borough. “It looked different from October 29 on, but we’re cleaning it up.”
Nelson said the borough gave the green light for the final demolition Wednesday. But had no explanation as to why it has taken so long. Though once complete, Mantoloking will have seen 54 of its once-perfect homes become little more than messy piles of rubble.
More than eight months later, Mantoloking still offers one of the harshest views of Sandy’s devastation to the Jersey Shore. Driveways lead to open beach. Homes lean and sit exposed after rushing water ripped out walls. And piles of sand, packed with various debris, line Route 35.
For longtime property owners like Feniello, each day is a stark reminder of what was lost. She has been trying to avoid the borough and her home because of the sick feeling that consumes her each time she sees the devastation. With her own home, she has been trying to weigh whether the cost to elevate is worth saving it. Her research shows that cost alone could range from $75,000 to $120,000.
Personally I have lived through my fair share of cyclones and floods and thanks to federal assistance Homes and businesses were repaired etc. in quite a short time. Yes some home owners struggled but as a community they recieved much needed help.
If it took almost 12 months to recover from these disasters then there would be little point in the recovery and rebuilding as we face these storms and floods on a yearly basis.
It is now almost 12 moths later and still the clean up continues, Maybe President Obama should come and get some lessons on crisis management.