RUMSON, NEW JERSEY —
More than half-a-million residents in the Northeast region of the United States remain without electricity, heat, water - and some with no homes - after Hurricane Sandy roared through the region early last week. Now a new storm is hampering efforts to restore power and some degree of normalcy to the devastated region.
Local communities had called reinforcements from around the country and Canada. Residents of the Jersey Shore town of Rumson were struggling after the "superstorm" when this next storm hit.
“No, not a good time, and we've all kind of had enough of this and now we're getting socked with another one,” said Scott Paterson, Rumson police chief.
Despite the pounding wind and rain, this community keeps pulling together.
“We're really pleased with all the turnout. I don't think anyone could have predicted that we would have this level of quality and quantity of donations and volunteers,” said Jennifer Wargo Sapnar, an emergency medical technician.
Sapnar helped organize a “comfort station.” It's here that people affected by the storm can find anything from household cleaners to clothes, but some need more than that.
“We've been able to cover all of their needs in terms of food, clothing and a place to stay," said Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl. "The next crisis we're facing, because we've condemned probably 50 homes here in Rumson and many more across the river, is where their longer term living situation is going to be.”
The new storm is making the situation worse.
“The winds are very high. The water is already coming up. We're afraid that this storm is going to undo all of the progress that we've made this week. Personally, I'm nervous that this storm is going to do even more damage to what Sandy left behind,” said Dina Long, mayor of Sea Bright, New Jersey.
And some of the first-responders haven't even had the chance to deal with what Hurricane Sandy has done to their own homes and families.
“It's the job. It's the job. But as chief I got to worry about my guys getting home to see their families, which they have not really done. And take care of their houses, which they have not really done,” said Police Chief Paterson.
For them, being on the front line of an ongoing disaster in the neighborhood means coping with tragedy - both professionally and personally.