Storm Survivors Unite & Take Trenton By Storm

On the first day of hurricane season, Congressman. Andy Kim and Congressman Tom Malinowski joined us, storm impacted families, from across the state to fix the broken disaster recovery system and be better prepared for future storms. The day’s focus was on what we call “the storm after the storm”: the long-lasting financial, emotional, and health impact of a disaster recovery system that doesn’t help families. We believe the struggles Ida families face today and the ongoing struggles of Sandy families are critical lessons that can be applied to reform disaster recovery systems and ring the alarm bell for better preparation in our communities. 

Ida families have struggled with FEMA and insurance, and are not likely to see federal grant funds until around the one-year anniversary of the storm.  These struggles are sadly familiar to Sandy families, some of whom are still not home nearly 10 years later. Storm survivors remain displaced from their homes, are being forced to pay out of pocket for recovery if they can afford it, or live in unsafe conditions if they can’t or if their landlords are not making needed repairs.

During today’s event, storm survivors came together from all over New Jersey – Atlantic, Ocean, Hunterdon, Somerset, Essex, Hudson, and Passaic Counties – because while disasters don’t discriminate, disaster preparation and recovery programs do. Organizations insisted that funding be invested equitably into all New Jersey communities affected by flooding. 

When Ida happened, there was no warning for people to evacuate or prepare themselves. Urban communities were ravaged and exposed to toxic floods from overflowing sewage and toxins from chemical and fossil fuel plants. Entire homes and neighborhoods were destroyed. Families lost their homes, and access to clean drinking water, energy, and transportation. As we enter another hurricane season, one that is anticipated to be as strong as last years, if not worse, we cannot allow this to happen again.

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