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As Flood Damage Mounts, Weary NJ Residents Seek Aid, Answers

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Flood damage hit Little Falls in September of 2011 . (credit: CBS 2)

Flood damage hit Little Falls in September of 2011 . (credit: CBS 2)

LITTLE FALLS, N.J. (CBS 2) — Many of those forced from their homes have reached the breaking point. They want answers and help, but realistically, what can they expect?

CBS 2’s Tony Aiello headed to Little Falls, New Jersey to get some answers.

“Something needs to happen. Somebody needs to do something because we’re being ignored for much too long,” Jay Hida told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

Hida was echoing the flood frustrations that prompted his neighbor to put a sign on his roof that read: “How Much Longer Will We Be Ignored.”

Others have been posting a sign reading “FEMA Buy Out,” asking the feds to buy the properties they could never sell.

“Three, four years ago, they were going for [$350,000]. Couple homes down the street, they can’t even get [$190,000] for them now,” Bob Booth said.

Buying and tearing down flood-prone homes was the top recommendation in a study by the Passaic River Flood Advisory Commission, which was appointed by Governor Chris Christie.

“We want to live along the beaches, we want to live along the margins of the rivers. Those are the wrong places to be living, said Bob Prezant, who served on the flood study commission.

Prezant said there was no single answer to address the problem.

However, the report recommended:

  • Cutting bureaucracy to make it easier to dredge and clean debris from rivers.
  • Dramatically limiting further development in the Passaic River basin.
  • Taking another look at a multi-billion dollar plan to build a tunnel to divert flood waters.
  • Elevation.

Click here to read the full report.

FEMA has already allocated money to help several homeowners on Louis Street to elevate their homes.

The plan calls for literally lifting the home up and build a new foundation around it so the living space is elevated above the flood stage.

But in a tight economy, flood victims fear they’ll get a lot more sympathy than financial support.

“If they don’t do something to help us — six times in six years, we’re crushed. I can’t no anymore,” Joe Bottazzi said.

How are you dealing with the flood damage to your homes?  Tell us in the comments section…

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