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Public Statements

Hurricane Sandy One Year Later

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I rise as we recognize the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall in New Jersey one year ago today.

By now, we all know that Sandy was a storm of epic proportions. In New Jersey, 357,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, and 2.7 million households were left without power--some for weeks.

We pause to remember the over 3 dozen New Jerseyans tragically killed by the storm. It is only thanks to the heroic efforts of our first responders that many more were saved from the rising waters.

As media coverage focused on the destruction to shore communities, inland towns along the Hackensack River in Northern New Jersey were also being inundated by floodwaters

The towns of Little Ferry and Moonachie in Bergen County were particularly hard hit. About 90 percent of the homes there were damaged or destroyed.

Over $19.6 million in Individual Assistance from FEMA has been awarded in my district, including $9.3 million in Little Ferry and $6.2 million in Moonachie--two working class towns with a combined population of just over 13,000.

We have come far over the past year, but we still have a long way to go moving forward.

Moonachie's Borough Hall, which houses the municipal government and public safety department, is still operating out of temporary trailers.

In Little Ferry, many homeowners were only recently informed that after spending thousands on repairs, the extent of the damage was severe enough that their homes would have to be elevated--weeks after grant programs to help fund the elevations had closed their applications.

Unfortunately, the State of New Jersey has been slow to spend its initial allocation of HUD funding provided under the Sandy supplemental appropriations legislation. According to some estimates, just 25 percent of the funding allocated for housing programs has gone out the door to those in need.

With the next round of Community Development Block Grant--Disaster Recovery funding on the way for the regions impacted, I will be fighting to ensure that these critical aid dollars go towards addressing our outstanding needs and priorities quickly and efficiently.

Sandy taught us how utterly vulnerable we are when disaster strikes--a lesson we cannot soon forget.

As we continue to rebuild for the long term, we need to focus on finding solutions which will make our communities more resilient to better protect us from future storms.

We must also work towards reducing our carbon emissions in order to slow the warming of our climate, which is driving stronger storms, sea level rise, and more severe weather.

As we move into the second year of our recovery efforts, I urge my colleagues to stay firm in their resolve to support us in the work we still have ahead of us.

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