BRICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Some evacuees are still days away from returning to their flood-soaked homes in parts of New Jersey, which saw 8 inches of rainfall Monday after a storm-filled weekend.
As many did not live in floodplains, their lack of flood insurance is leaving them in need of aid. Governor Phil Murphy signed a state of emergency declaration for Bergen, Essex, Monmouth, Ocean and Passaic Counties which may help with some insurance issues, but not all.
The view from over Brick Township in New Jersey gives a glimpse of the devastation on the ground.
“The worst part is watching water come in and not being able to do anything about it,” said resident Angel Santos, one of many affected by the heavy storms.
Room to room, he shows how flood water drenched and destroyed the new home he and his wife worked so hard for, including ruining new furniture they just bought last Friday.
Brick Township was among several municipalities to declare a state of emergency. Officials and residents alike were hoping the Federal Emergency Management Agency would provide aid, which hinged on whether Murphy could get disaster declaration approval from President Trump.
The feeling of helplessness swept over 80 residents of a senior living community who had to be rescued in the rapidly rising flood water by fireboats.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do, find a new place to live? It’s really terrible,” said resident Sal Russo.
“He’s like, ‘Oh it’ll be OK,’ no honey, this is something we’ve never seen before,” said Linda Russo.
Karen Snyder walked through her aunt’s home and surveyed furniture destroyed, soaked beds and ruined pictures.
“The water’s right there you can see,” said Snyder. “Bottom of the bed is all wet, in there is all water.”
Despite the property damage, luckily Snyder’s 90-year-old aunt was not home when the relentless rain came rushing in.
“It could have been a lot worse,” she said. “She could have been in here and not staying with me. She’s in a wheelchair and that would have been hard for them to get her out in a boat and stuff.”
Among more than a hundred evacuations from the Greenbriar I community center was Amanda Guiro’s mother.
“My mothers been here I think 13 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Guiro.
Her eyes filled up watching her family, with no choice, rip apart her home.
But the hardest part for many will be figuring out what’s next.
“There’s no flood insurance, this is not a flood zone,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking and with seniors, they’re on social security, very limited incomes. I don’t know how these people are supposed to pay for everything.”
Police Humvees and heavy-duty military vehicles patrolling the streets are part of an experience the community is calling unexpected, but local spirits remain strong.
“We will rebuild because we are Jersey people,” said Trish Pereira.
“I believe in picking up the pieces and starting again, and I will with the grace of God,” said Santos.
The governor’s office was waiting to measure the totality of the storms’ damage before determining whether or not to request financial assistance from the feds.