The experience of recovering from Sandy
The similarities and differences of the Sandy recovery experience, and the volunteers taking survivors beyond rebuild to resumption of normal lives are discussed on Townsquare Tonight.Listen to the show:
Ken Langdon of Ortley; Craig & Deborah Versheck from Little Egg; and Sue Marticek from the Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group were in-studio as guests.
Ortley Beach, Union Beach and Mantoloking are well known for its Superstorm Sandy devastation but very little is known about the destruction wrought to Little Egg Harbor and Tuckerton.
On WOBM-AM’S Townsquare Tonight, Tuckerton resident Deborah Versheck, describes Little Egg Harbor’s Mystic Island as ground zero.
“We had seven feet of water in our area with four to five foot waves. Many of the houses right now are abandoned,” said Versheck.
Craig Versheck, Deborah’s husband, places the number of abandoned homes in their area at around 1,500. He said over 4,000 homes sustained damage during Superstorm Sandy and 50 percent of all homes are unoccupied.
“A lot of people are giving up in our area and just abandoning their homes because they’re not getting the help they need,” according to Deborah Versheck.
There’s little wonder why. The Versheck’s describe their own grant funding delays because of an application error made by a disaster case worker that the Versheck’s discovered. They said the agency told them the delay was caused by a computer glitch.
“I think what our community needs and still needs is the media or some sort of attention. I believe that we’re so overlooked and people are still just lost to this day,” said Craig Versheck.
Meanwhile, Sue Marticek, Executive Director of the Ocean County’s Long-Term Recovery Group said it’s not the first time she’s heard of the troubles in southern Ocean County but said people there haven’t come to them for help. As she predicted, she said now twenty months after Sandy and the with deadline of a number of disaster recovery programs now passed, they’ve been getting flooded with calls for help.
Marticek urges Sandy-devastated homeowners to contact them for help and said one of the first things they’ll do is connect them with a Disaster Case Manager. “And we’re here to provide them with some guidance, perhaps some money, materials and most certainly our volunteer manpower.”
Contact the Ocean County Long-Term Recovery Group at 732-569-3484.
However, even on the northern barrier island community of Ortley Beach, that was classified as ground zero for Sandy and has received lots of media attention, the rebuilding process hs been slow for residents.
Ortley Beach resident Ken Langdon said according to his estimate, “Ortley is probably four to five years away from any degree of normalcy and it took me a long time to convince myself of that.”
“People went to bed expecting a bad storm and woke up with their lives turned upside down”, said Marticek. “and it’s twenty months plus later and their is no light at the end of the tunnel for them. They’re still in a deep fog of not knowing how to recover,” she said.
Townsquare Media’s Rosetta Key contributed to this story.