Here we are, nearly five days after Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast, and residents of some of the hardest hit areas in New Jersey are finally being allowed back into their communities and are getting the first look at the devastation. But even now, some residents aren’t yet able to return to the hard-hit region, as roads remain closed, power is out, and authorities claim that open gas lines pose potential danger. Still, the residents who have been able to finally return to their houses after the mandatory evacuation are finding a grim welcome home.
Damage is Mind-Boggling
Residents of the hardest-hit areas are finding dramatic damage as they slowly begin to return home. Houses have been completely destroyed. Exterior walls have been washed away, welcoming the ocean and the beach into the living room. Cars have been swept away entirely, deposited willy-nilly like children’s toys. Dennis Cucci, of Point Pleasant Beach, called the damage “absolutely mind-boggling.” Five-foot deep sand drifts have left streets impassible, and seaside towns are littered with shorn electrical wires, shattered planks and slabs of broken concrete. These towns no longer resemble the homes their residents left behind.
Seaside Park remains underwater, while the town of Mantoloking was decimated by a fire that consumed at least 14 houses. At Casino Pier, a roller coaster lays partially submerged offshore, a maze of twisted metal. The Carousel Arcade has been torn apart by walls of water and vicious winds - peoples livelihoods in these seaside towns have been completely destroyed. Some residents have already said they won’t stay and rebuild, and those who do choose to stay have a very long recovery ahead. Many residents have lost their cars, and those whose work depends on being able to drive to work, or drive at work, are simply adrift.
Our hearts go out to these individuals most affected by the storm. Rebuilding will be a long, hard road.