It’s been two years since Hurricane Sandy rocked New Jersey and New York with rapid floods and 115 mile-per-hour winds, leaving $36.8 billion of damage and at least 37 deaths in its wake. The weeks immediately following the storm saw neighbors banding together for recovery and hope, and an outreach on behalf of the nation to offer support to the victims of the disaster.
The last two years, however, have shown a less neighborly side of the recovery. Several victims of the storm are battling it out with insurance companies to rebuild their homes, or at least obtain the resources necessary for the new living situations they’ve been forced to find. Others are suffering from physical maladies caused by the environmental fallout.
NJ.com has compiled these stories into an ongoing collection to give voice to those whose suffering continues and for whom resolution remains elusive. “Forgotten Faces of Sandy” is spearheaded by photographer Robb Paniconi, who compiles pictures and audio files that contain the statements and stories of those for whom Hurricane Sandy is still a daily reality to fight against.
‘You Feel a Little Bit Forgotten’
Michael Petrillo was renting an apartment in another town as a temporary place to live while he worked on renovating his house in Sea Bright. Unsurprisingly, Hurricane Sandy undid much of the work he’d put into his home. What separates Michael from other homeowners with storm damages is that his house was deemed ineligible for government relief programs, since it was not technically his primary residence. His voice is hard but resigned as he admits he doesn’t expect there to be much sympathy from outsiders for his situation, looking at it as a second or vacation home. But, he adds, not everyone on the Jersey Shore is a millionaire. “You feel a little bit forgotten,” he admits on the audio file. “I know people are hurting down here.”
“Unsurprisingly, Hurricane Sandy undid much of the work he’d put into his home.”Click to Tweet this!
Larissa Torres lived in Montville, well away from the coastal areas affected most by the storm. Nevertheless, the winds uprooted 80-foot-tall, 200-year-old trees from her childhood home. One knocked all their property from the attic out into the yard, and the whole house is unstable, unable to be salvaged. The caption under her photo additionally reports that her parents remain entrenched in a legal battle with their insurance company. Meanwhile, their house has been infested with toxic black mold.
Frank Petrillo’s Mantoloking home survived the storm, but the aftermath has proved an ongoing struggle for him in the form of reconstruction on his street. The dust and noise of demolition and repair work keeps him from sleeping at night—it’s like a toothache, he says, as the shrill beeping and sounds of machinery bleed into the audio interview. He even moved into a different part of the house, to see if it would help him escape somewhat from the noise. It hasn’t.
If, like these people, you have an ongoing struggle with the fallout of Hurricane Sandy, you can submit your story to the site. Just click here to share a few details of your story, or that of someone you know, and it may be considered for an addition to the site.
Rebuilding takes time. It’s important for people like these victims and the countless others to know that they have a voice.
The legal team at The Oshman Firm is looking to help those still suffering from this terrible storm. We are experienced in cases of personal injury, insurance claims and many other areas of litigation in the states of New York and New Jersey.
Call us at 800.400.8182 for a free consultation to discuss your options, or fill out the form on the right side of this page.
image credit: NJ.com
image credit: Forgotten Faces of Sandy