Philip Rock has received $8,000 in flood insurance payments so far but said he is awaiting a statement on the final amount, which he expects to be much more. A house he owns in Toms River, N.J., had a $220,000 flood insurance policy. The house, which he rents out, was destroyed, and he needs to know the final payout before he can demolish it.
The house is a "total loss," Rock said. "We don't want to demolish the house and have them say, 'We have to go around and take more pictures.'"
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were the states hardest hit by the storm in terms of damage from high winds, flooding and storm surges. The storm damaged or destroyed more than 72,000 homes and businesses in New Jersey. In New York, 305,000 housing units were damaged or destroyed and more than 265,000 businesses were affected.
Speaking of the legislation pending Friday, Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., whose district includes Staten Island, said, "This funding will give the city and state the much-needed resources to rebuild our damaged infrastructure and provide further aid to individuals and small businesses struggling to pick up the pieces of their lives."
Sandy was the most costly natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and was blamed for at least 120 deaths. Northeast lawmakers have complained that it took just 10 days for Congress to approve about $50 billion in aid for Katrina but that it hasn't provided aid for Sandy relief in more than two months.
"States and local communities need to know the money will be there before they can give a green light to start rebuilding," said LoBiondo.
More than $2 billion in federal money has been spent so far on relief efforts for 11 states and the District of Columbia struck by the storm. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, New Hampshire, Delaware, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia are receiving FEMA aid.