Sandy Devastation Leaves N.J. Reeling, Recovery Slow in N.Y.

Uploaded by PBSNewsHour on 01.11.2012

bjbjVwVw JEFFREY BROWN: The losses in life and property kept growing today in the wake
of Sandy. The U.S. death toll reached 92 and the focus on physical damage shifted to New
Jersey, where the monster storm blasted barrier islands and other waterside cities. The massive
force of the storm's destruction along the Jersey Shore came fully into view today. Town
after town presented stark scenes of wrecked homes and boats, underscoring the long process
of rebuilding that lies ahead. One of those towns was the Long Beach community north of
Atlantic City, where Army National Guard troops arrived to assist. LT. ERIC SHAW, U.S. Army
National Guard: A lot of devastation. The island was hit very hard. From what I understand,
there is roughly 18,000 homes without power. There's severe gas leaks. So right now, we
are just trying to get everything together for the Office of Emergency Management Here
and the different municipalities and just assist them with whatever needs they have
going on. JEFFREY BROWN: And even three days later, some Long Beach residents still could
not believe the power of the storm. WOMAN: This was the deepest water I have ever seen
in my lifetime of being here. I was 11 in the '62 storm and the water came an inch from
our house. And this time it was a foot deep in our house. JEFFREY BROWN: In Point Pleasant,
the damaged boardwalk was a backdrop for workers who carried lumber and dug holes for new fencing.
And shelters like this one at the Brigantine Beach Community Center were open for those
searching for a place to stay. MAN: Even though we don't have any staff here, we have had
incredible support from all the volunteers. JEFFREY BROWN: To the north, in Hoboken, across
from New York City, emergency and National Guard trucks moved through the flooded streets
overnight. When Sandy hit, the storm surge on the Hudson River swamped a quarter of the
city, leaving 20,000 people stranded in their homes and in the dark. WOMAN: It's really
scary. We don't have that much food. We prepared a little bit. JEFFREY BROWN: For others across
New Jersey, the loss of electricity meant no way to pump gas, which led to long lines
at places where fuel was available. WOMAN: An hour and 40 minutes almost. Crazy. I'm
out of gas, though. I have less than a quarter tank, so I had to get out today. JEFFREY BROWN:
And Governor Chris Christie said today the storm also delivered an emotional blow. He
spoke from the flooded of Moonachie. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: There's nothing more
precious to people than their homes. Homes are where their families are, the memories
and possessions of their lives. And there's also a sense of safety to home. And you feel
like when you get in that place and you close that door, that there's a sense of safety
there. That sense of safety was violated on Monday, with water rushing into people's homes
at an enormous rate of speed and people having to literally swim, climb, jump for their lives.
JEFFREY BROWN: And financial help was on the way. The federal government promised eight
New Jersey counties it would cover all costs for emergency power and transportation for
another week. Meanwhile, in New York, new images from Long Island showed tons of sand
washed ashore by the storm and major damage to beachfront neighborhoods. At the same time,
a return to heavy city traffic early today was a sign of progress. Police tried to manage
the situation by turning away cars with fewer than three passengers on select bridges into
Manhattan. Mayor Michael Bloomberg pressed for people to be patient with the traffic
and the broader effort to get back to normal. MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, I-New York: We are
all in this together. We are desperately trying to help everybody. We're trying to prioritize.
First thing is safety. Inconvenience is down the list. If we had some people in the wrong
places, it was the first day getting it going. Hopefully, it will be better tomorrow. You
have to bear with us. JEFFREY BROWN: Still, city officials warned that gridlock was likely
to linger through the day and into the weekend, as the public transportation system comes
back online; 14 of New York's subway lines resumed limited service this morning. Fares
were waived today and tomorrow to encourage people to use mass transit. WOMAN: I walked
about five miles in total yesterday to and from work, so I'm happy to have the subways
back for the time being. JEFFREY BROWN: But for these commuters outside the Barclays Center
in Brooklyn, the subway still wasn't an option. Instead, long lines stretched around the block
as people waited for buses to shuttle them into Manhattan. Things were looking up, though,
for air travelers. La Guardia Airport reopened today. That meant all three major New York-area
airports are now up and running, albeit not yet at full speed. JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to some
on-the-ground reports from both states on how people are coping with the aftermath.
Ray Suarez begins with two dispatches from the embattled state of New Jersey. RAY SUAREZ:
We turn to Mike Schneider, the managing editor and anchor of "New Jersey Today." He's at
their studios in Montclair. Mike, has it really started to dawn on people now just how badly
the state was hit? MIKE SCHNEIDER, NJTV: I think so, Ray. The fact is, is that you go
through this kind of psychological roller coaster as the storm approaches and people
gear up for what they believe is coming. Then they live through the event itself, and then
the next day or so, they get outside and they take a look around and they realize exactly
what has happened. In this case, there was no way to anticipate what was going to happen
because the destruction on this level has never occurred in this state before. It's
the worst storm in the history of New Jersey and according to some people may be, in fact,
one of the worst storms ever to hit the United States. RAY SUAREZ: How are the people in
the worst damaged areas managing to get the basic necessities of everyday life, food,
shelter? MIKE SCHNEIDER: It's tough, and it varies. In some of the more urban areas, you
have seen swift boat crews actually go out, rescue these people and take them to shelters,
where they will be fed and they will have a place to sleep. And depending upon what
level of shelter they go to, they might be able to get home sooner rather than later.
But at that this point, if you're from the barrier islands, the ones that were hardest
hit down the shore, Gov. Christie had issued an executive order telling everybody to get
off the beach, his famous phrase. Some people didn't, much to the governor's consternation.
And, in fact, they were kind of trapped there right now. Some of them have been rescued
as well. The governor at this point is talking about lifting some of the travel bans in some
select communities. Curfews remain in effect in all those communities, however. But for
many of these people, it's a case of getting to family or friends or shelters and hoping
that those necessities will be there for them at that place. RAY SUAREZ: Was today the day
when a lot of people really got to take stock of just what they had lost, their first look
at their homes? MIKE SCHNEIDER: Well, it's interesting you should say that, Ray, because
so many people in the state don't have power, it's hard to say how many people know exactly
how widespread this damage has been. Gov. Christie took a tour yesterday of more of
the inland areas before his encounter with President Obama. And he went to a town called
Sayreville, where he went door-to-door meeting with the people who came out to talk to him,
shake hands. He was bolstering their spirits. But in some cases, there were people who broke
down in his arms and cried. And he became more than the chief executive of this state.
He became the consoler in chief, if you will. And that is a story that repeated itself a
number of times. Later in the day, the governor and President Obama took a helicopter ride
over the area from Atlantic City down to an area called Brigantine ultimately, one of
the areas where the governor had told people to get off, and in many cases they didn't.
And he kind of jokingly, but firmly let them know when they were speaking a couple of minutes
after the video you're seeing right now, let them know that in fact he was not happy with
them, but he'd give them a break this time around. But it's just a very, very kind of
like -- this is a -- you know, it's not a big state geographically, but it's a very
densely populated state and it's a very diverse state when it comes to geography as well.
The Highlands took a tremendous hit, because that's where the winds seemed to be the strongest
and trees came down and power is out there and there's no telling when it will be restored.
Along the shore, of course, you have seen some of the damage that occurred there. Where
once stood houses, there are now waves in some cases. And then you go up farther north
closer to New York City across the Hudson from that, and you have places like Jersey
City and Hoboken, places that are populated now with an awful lot of people. In fact,
those two cities have been referred to as the most densely populated areas in the United
States. And they were underwater. They simply did not expect that level of damage and destruction
to come their way. And for a lot of those people, they had to be boated out as well.
There's no telling when they can go back. RAY SUAREZ: You touched on it just briefly
before, but I want to talk a little bit more about the restrictions, because often post-flood
areas are dangerous to be in. There are things in the water that you can't see. The houses
themselves have gas leaks, sometimes electricity problems. Are there tight controls on who
can get in, who can get out and how long they can stay? MIKE SCHNEIDER: Absolutely, Ray.
In some of these communities, the restrictions remain in effect, no getting on, no getting
off. In some places, the governor didn't even have to issue that order. Bridges are out
in a number of communities as well. But in some of the video you are seeing behind me
right now, they have had some enormously dangerous encounters with gas leaks. Just this afternoon,
one of the gas companies, New Jersey Natural Gas, announced that it was cutting off the
gas flow to that area to try to stem some of those fires. As a result, I presume that
means some people with gas service might lose that gas service for a while. But in places
like the ones you are seeing behind me right now, there are no people who could use the
gas service there because no people basically could stay there. You're taking a look at
places that were lovely beachside communities, bayside communities, and now it's basically
houses lifted off their foundations and surrounded by the beach. RAY SUAREZ: Michael Schneider
is with us from New Jersey. Nighttime temperatures dropping tonight, Michael, so it's probably
going to be pretty cold for those people trying to shelter in their homes. Thanks for joining
us. MIKE SCHNEIDER: Thank you, Ray. RAY SUAREZ: And, next, we get to Katie Zezima of The Associated
Press. We're talking to her by phone in Hoboken, N.J., because we couldn't get studio facilities
there. Katie, unlike these shore communities that we have seen so much of, Hoboken is a
densely populated place, built up, high-rises. What's it like there? KATIE ZEZIMA, The Associated
Press: Well, the floodwaters have receded in Hoboken. The streets are completely dry
right now. But the mayor estimates about 95 percent of the residents are still without
power. And that power could take us seven to 10 days to get back. But FEMA officials
are now here and working with the utilities, so they stress that it could be much sooner,
and they want it to be much sooner than that. RAY SUAREZ: There must be a lot of water in
basements, in any place that is below ground level, though? KATIE ZEZIMA: There is, yes.
There's a lot of damage, as there is all around New Jersey, from rising waters. One other
issue they have here in Hoboken is because there are a lot of high-rises, many people,
especially elderly people, stayed in their high-rises. So now that there's no power,
they're not able to get back down. So there's a really concerted effort to get around to
especially elderly housing complexes and deliver those people food and water and medicine as
well. They have a few pharmacists, nurse practitioners going around to people and helping them get
the medication they need if they're unable to get out of their homes. RAY SUAREZ: Aren't
there towns very close to Hoboken north and south on the Hudson River that aren't as heavily
affected? KATIE ZEZIMA: There are. Jersey City is one. Jersey City did get water, but
at least in the downtown area, much of the power is back already. And it's come back
very, very quickly. And some of it actually came back yesterday. So, there are towns around
that definitely are not as hard-hit. They didn't take on the amount of water that Hoboken
did. RAY SUAREZ: Let's head down the shore to Seaside Heights, where you have also done
some reporting. What's it like there? KATIE ZEZIMA: A scene of absolute devastation. It's
a barrier island that holds Seaside Heights, Ortley Beach, and a few other towns. And it's
absolutely devastated. In Seaside Heights, there's a famous pier, a famous boardwalk.
For years, it has been used by families for summer vacation. And, more recently, it was
made famous by MTV's "Jersey Shore." The boardwalk is completely destroyed. There were a number
of amusement park rides there, one at Casino Pier. The rides are completely gone. They're
just not there anymore. And most dramatically, on the upper side, in the ocean, there is
a massive roller coaster just bobbing in the waves. RAY SUAREZ: A lot of the houses there
are smaller-frame structures. They seem to be off their foundations, moved around, scattered,
crashed into each other. What's it like? KATIE ZEZIMA: Absolutely. There is a house that
got pushed into the middle of Route 35, which is the main thoroughfare on the island. The
house is completely turned on its side, almost like a dollhouse that could just be pushed
over. Roofs are buckled in. There's debris in lawns. Roofs are kind of sheared off, almost
like a sardine can. They just kind of came off and you can see them hanging there. There's
been one very dramatic scene in Ortley Beach. When you come over the bridge, there's a red
pickup truck that's just down into a sinkhole. It's really unbelievable to see this car sticking
out of the ground. RAY SUAREZ: Is anyone allowed to spend the night there, or is there a curfew
in effect in Seaside Heights? KATIE ZEZIMA: There is a curfew in effect. A number of people
did ride out the storm. And officials are still going door to door and doing search-and-rescue
efforts to see if there's anyone left in their homes. Those who are there are going to be
asked to leave, because there are still gas fires that are burning. There's still gas
lines and there's still power lines down and a significant amount of damage. The people
who did stay there -- I actually spoke with one -- and he said -- his exact quote was,
"It was like being at Ground Zero," just because the water came in, the winds, the rain. He
said it was just completely frightening being there. And he walked over the bridge to get
there, because residents will not be allowed back until this weekend at the very earliest
to gather all of their belongings and check on their homes. RAY SUAREZ: Katie Zezima of
The Associated Press, thanks for joining us. KATIE ZEZIMA: Thank you. JEFFREY BROWN: And
we go back to New York. Hari Sreenivasan is in Manhattan today examining the impact the
storm has had on businesses struggling with flooding and other damage. HARI SREENIVASAN:
It got what, to here, to here? MARCO PASANELLA, business owner: It got to about here. HARI
SREENIVASAN: Marco Pasanella knows firsthand how high the water got in his wine store because
he and his family rode out the storm in their apartment above. MARCO PASANELLA: We were
down there, and all of a sudden, we saw like kind of a sheet of water start to come through
the front door. And within minutes, it just, bam, opened up. And there was like four feet
immediately. We ran upstairs. And then, when we looked out the window, it was all -- all
of South Street was just a black river. And it was scary. HARI SREENIVASAN: The fear is
gone, but he is left with the uncertainty of what will be covered by insurance as he
tries to rebuild. He says it will cost him into the hundreds of thousands of dollars
to replace everything in his store lower than six feet, where the water crested. For his
business, the timing could not have been worse. MARCO PASANELLA: We're entering the holiday
season. And a wine and liquor store like ours can often have 60 percent of its yearly revenue
in the last two months of the year. So, this is going to hurt us hard. HARI SREENIVASAN:
Around the historic South Street seaport neighborhood of Lower Manhattan, most of the businesses
took a direct hit as the East River surged. Most of the walls will have to be replaced
before mold and mildew can creep in. RICHARD BERRY, real estate developer: Until they get
power, until they get their electricity, until they clean out their systems, until they can
get the board of health to take a look at the conditions to make sure everything is
OK, it could take a couple of months. HARI SREENIVASAN: Richard Berry helped develop
the property featuring nearly a hundred apartments and a dozen small businesses. He says they
still have to check to see if the buildings were moved by the river's surge. Now the concern
is whether everyone was insured properly. RICHARD BERRY: Water damage insurance, which
you cover automatically, is not flood insurance. If water comes up, it's a flood. If water
comes down, it's water damage. HARI SREENIVASAN: No one yet has a good figure on Sandy's total
damage, but it's estimated to fall well into the tens of billions of dollars. Of that,
more than $7 billion will be covered by insurance. As much as a third of their insurance claims
could come from New York alone. Those costs keep bubbling upward each night, as parts
of the Financial District and the city's transportation tunnels keep pumping millions of gallons water
out. And, as night after night, a third of Manhattan island remains without power, in
the dark and out of work. DAVID TROTTA, business owner: Oh, God. I mean, I have 30 employees
out of work right now. And we probably won't be able to get everybody back to work for
another week or so. It's unfortunate. HARI SREENIVASAN: David Trotta knows that those
are paychecks that matter for the employees of Jack's Coffee, and he says they're sprinting
as fast as they can to rebuild a sense of community by getting back to business. DAVID
TROTTA: So, at some form, I would guess that myself and the old manager of this store will
be here with like a six-foot table, a couple of burners and some kind of camp setup just
making French press coffee tomorrow. HARI SREENIVASAN: Just three days after Sandy,
small signs of normalcy mean a lot for New Yorkers. JUDY WOODRUFF: And there's more about
the storm online. You can scroll through the images of the overwhelming scenes from the
New Jersey coastline. Those are on our website. h4)h h4)h h4)h h4)h h4)h h4)h h4)h h4)h urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags
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PersonName JEFFREY BROWN: The losses in life and property kept growing today in the wake
of Sandy Normal Microsoft Office Word JEFFREY BROWN: The losses in life and property kept
growing today in the wake of Sandy Title Microsoft Office Word Document MSWordDoc Word.Document.8