Sandy victims look for answers from FEMA

January 4, 2013 8:48:08 PM PST
With congressional approval of the first Sandy aid package, residents of New York and New Jersey look for answers from FEMA.

The new House and Senate passed a $9.7 billion aid bill that will re-stock the national flood insurance program which was due to run out of money next week.

This will help pay flood insurance claims to victims of Superstorm Sandy.

The much larger $51 billion Sandy relief package is scheduled for a vote on January 15th.

It was the House's failure to vote on the first part of the aid package on January 1st that sparked all that outrage by New Jersey and New York officials including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

A standing room only crowd of about 1,000 people impacted or displaced by Superstorm Sandy packed the auditorium of the Pinelands Regional High School to voice their rebuilding concerns to FEMA officials, including a recommendation to raise properties to higher ground.

Equipped with questions and fueled by frustrations, no one was holding back.

"The elevation says I have to raise my house. Where do I get the money for that?" asked one resident.

Dozens of people lined up to sound off on personal problems, claiming this is the first opportunity they have had; all of them eager to take control of the microphone.

It has been more than two months since the storm devastated the area, and the people of Little Egg Harbor say they are tired of getting mixed information on what funding they will receive and when and how they will be able to rebuild.

One man, who remains homeless after Sandy, says he is leaving the meeting with just as many questions as he came with.

Anytime you talk to anybody, nobody has a decent answer for anything or what the next step is," said Ed Zweig.

The vice principal of the school told action news that nearly 100 middle and high school students were left homeless after the October storm, some lived in Tuckerton Beach--an area flattened by Sandy.

Friday's house approved $9.7 billion in Sandy relief will indeed be helpful to the many people who have extensive rebuilding to do.

"It's going to help a lot of people out who don't have savings or any funds to get started. There are people who are still trying to get into their houses," said Pat Smith. "It will really help them."