Monday, April 29, 2013

Six Months After Sandy

Sandy's landfall six months ago today wrought tremendous damage to the Central and North Jersey coastlines and brought one of the more widespread windstorms the Delaware Valley has ever seen.  Damage, extensive at landfall, has been slow to be erased but in places rebirth has taken place.

Scars still remain -- vacant lots, the roller coaster in Seaside Heights, damage still in places in various towns along the Shore. Some towns are doing better than others in recovering and repair -- Mantoloking and Union Beach are still in much rougher shape than other towns. Boardwalks in Shore towns are getting repaired; some finished already and others likely finished in time for the summer vacation season.  Homes are another matter, with insurance and delays from the government in getting aid approved bogging down a number of communities' efforts in getting back to where they were prior to late October.  Tens of thousands remain homeless throughout Central and North Jersey, plus in Metro New York where the storm produced a ton of damage as well. Some of those are living in makeshift residences within apartment complexes, including cardboard boxes or tents...wherever they can find a place to temporarily make a home while their existing home gets rebuilt. If it gets rebuilt. Bureaucracy, that of the local, state, or federal variety, are contributing to some of the problems, particularly over the definition of flood zones near the coast.

"The largest problem is, nobody really knows how high we're going to have to elevate the house," Lynda Fricchione of Toms River said to the Associated Press. "At town hall they told us 5 feet, but then they said it might go down to 3 feet in the summer. Most of us are waiting until the final maps come out. It's wait-and-see." Governor Christie estimates about 39,000 families in New Jersey remain displaced, down from the over 160,000 that were displaced in the immediate aftermath of the storm.   Some homes won't be ready until October of this year, others probably not ready until 2014.

Repairs not only are being done to boardwalk or home but to beach and park.  In New York, 500 picnic tables and 150 lifeguard stands are being quickly put together in time for Memorial Day, many of those used to replace ones damaged in the wrath of Sandy.

“There were places in Staten Island, we couldn’t even find them — they were just gone, washed away,” recalled Chris Gruber, carpenter supervisor for New York City's Department of Parks and Recreation.

The tangible and physical are being replaced, albeit slowly in many cases, but the pain and suffering for many will continue as rebuilding continues along the Atlantic coastline...and those memories from Sandy will not fade anytime soon.