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

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…

  • Tex

    Numerous interviews have been conducted with people who survived the hurricane of 48 and also the bad storm of 53. One or two were engineers, that got out a long time ago, and clearly stated that you can lead a horse to water, but you can;t make it drink. Living in a low lieing area comes with numeorus risks, but you can’t expect the government to grab the emergency break to solve your problem. Some of the residents complaining the loudest are second and third generation owners of these boat houses, and just refuse to budge and leave. The meadowlands was once a giant swamp and marsh land, that only had landfills and junkyards scattered about. Not every inch of land in New Jersey is fit for habitation, nor will it support residential communities. Research should be done before buying these boat houses, it is readily available on line and at any library. You wouldn’t buy a house that sits behind runway 22L at Newark Airport, so why buy a home in an area that is near a major river, and below sea level ?? Your realtor didn’t share these facts with you, since he/she only saw dollar signs, and you dove in literally, since your kids could throw fishing lines out the bedroom window. The town I live in has an unwritten rule that no domocile may be built within 2500 feet of the river running through town. Yes, there is a gas station or two, but mostly parks and empty areas. Because of that, no one has ever watched their couches and dining table floating down the street while being interviewed by Channel 2 news. Any water damage or flooding we get, is minor and due only to the volume of rain, or the water table having reached saturation. Yes there are road closures when there is flooding, but no loss of life or watching Vern sitting in his Chevy pickup floating by……The old rule of ‘Caviat Emptor’ let the buyer beware certainly plays into this fact in a major way…….

  • Had Enough

    The Federal, State & Local governments should have codes that prevent people from building in flood prone areas. Our leaders need to get back the billions in aid we give around the world and do the right thing by buying our neighbors out and helping them relocate to safer areas.

  • Morris Bergen

    It is not enough for New Jersey to receive Federal aid for the flooding. That aid MUST come at the expense of New York City and be fully paid for with NYC tax dollars. We’re the REAL Americans. We’re better than they are, and the only way to prove it is with THEIR money.

  • ruben

    …………I just got a $829.99 iPad2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HDTV for only $251.92, they are both coming with USPS tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prices at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37″ HDTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for. I use ( Bidsget ) . ( com )

  • Nick

    So the smart folks who avoided buying houses in flood zones are going to be penalized to pay for the idiots who likes to do idiot things.

    • Wow

      Wow Nick…pour salt in the wound next.

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