Residents of the storm-rattled Jersey Shore returned home this weekend to begin rebuilding after superstorm Sandy left many homes and beaches in shambles.
In Ocean City Saturday, 200 volunteers helped clean debris on beaches washed ashore by Sandy’s surge. Ocean City high school graduate, Shannon Caulfield, organized the effort through Facebook.
“The whole area really means something to me and has a strong connection, so I really wanted to get a group together to make a big difference really quickly,” Caulfield said. “This is about my hometown and my friends and family; and restoring this town.”
Volunteers focused on the hardest-hit areas, helping residents start their clean-up process. Ed Simonson has flood damage in his bay front home.
“The storm was something; I tell you, it was nasty. It’s just awesome, it’s just great how people are all getting together and taking care of things,” Simonson said.
Hundreds of residents who evacuated in the wake of Sandy’s wrath were taken to the Atlantic Convention Center by bus Friday night. Many carried loads of bags and backpacks that sustained them for the last five days.
Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford said 25 percent of the resort destination remains in the dark as crews work to restore power. Police have stepped up patrols to prevent looting.
Eight-year-old Carlos Rivella and his family fear they may never be able to return to their flooded basement apartment. His family says they’ve lost nearly everything and are one of many families staying at an area shelter.
“I feel kind of sad, I don’t know if we can come there (home) again,” Rivella said.
Ventnor is also opened to residents and businesses, but they must show proof of residency for entry, according to police.
Federal Emergency Management Agency field offices opened Friday at Cape May Court House. More were expected to open in New Jersey in coming days to help residents get cash and food assistance and apply for other federal help. For assistance you may call 800-621-3362 or go to the FEMA website.
Power outages are still a major concern across New Jersey. More than 1 million businesses and residential customers are still without power.
Gov. Christie announced Friday that 8,000 out-of-state utility workers had been brought in to help the 10,000 based here restore power. Temporary housing is being set up for workers.