Flooding from Hurricane Sandy can be seen in this aerial U.S. Coast Guard handout photo showing Long Island, New York, October 30, 2012.- Photo courtesy of Reuters
Governor Chris Christie (left) and Department of Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson survey the superstorm Sandy damaged areas between the ocean and Rt 35 in Bayhead, New Jersey in this November 2, 2012 handout photo. – Picture courtesy of Reuters/Governor's Office/Tim Larsen/handout
By PERCY A OSTONAL
GOVERNOR Chris Christie of the state of New Jersey said:
"This superstorm is beyond what happened to anyone else and just imagine the unthinkable devastation in New Jersey.”
Gusty strong winds and surge of ocean waters inundated properties worth millions of dollars; thousands of residents remained without water, heat and phone services; some towns and low-laying areas went under water; sea sands rolled over a resort coastal community and covered its island homes, ripped apart iconic places in NJ such as the Atlantic city's "boardwalk", Seaside Heights, NJ historic amusements park and pushed knee-deep water onto streets; tons of rains poured, triggering the worst flooding in the history of New York City and New Jersey, sinking subway stations, city streets along with hundreds of dead vehicles; fires broke wiping out Queens, New York city neighborhood of 80 houses at the height of the storm; trees were uprooted, telecom relay stations and power posts knocked down, cutting power services to some eight million customers in 17 states; roads and bridges were shut; effects of moisture led to blizzard conditions in the state of West Virginia; and domestic and International flights were grounded in NYC and NJ.
"It's like a war zone," a man interviewed by a CNN said.
These were the vivid descriptions that stunned everybody the morning after Superstorm Sandy exited. And yes, for gas -- motorists had to wait for hours in line that stretched out to some three to six miles. Homes were still without power six days after the storm. The number of death in the United States climbed past 90 in 10 states, including two young brothers who were torn from their mother's grasp by rushing floodwaters in Staten Island during the height of the storm. Latest report said that financial and economic losses were in billions of dollars; the cost of industrial and manufacturing stoppage especially in the state of New Jersey have yet to be assessed. Other affected areas reported were the state of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia, parts of Connecticut and Massachusetts.
(Above information taken from CNN TV reports, local Michigan newspapers Detroit News and, Detroit Free Press)
Home to many Mambulaoans, friends and relatives of mine, New Jersey and New York City got the "direct hit". I called some of our fellow Mambulaoans, friends and relatives and these were how they recounted the harrowing encounter with Sandy:
"Wala kaming tubig at kuryente … ika-anim na araw na ito at dahil hindi kami makaluto, we have canned goods at bumibili kami ng Chinese takeaway not a distance away from our house. Underground electrical cables dito sa lugar namin kaya hindi kami kakaba-kaba sa mga falling power lines. Hindi natin hinahangad ang ganitong situasyon pero sometimes maganda rin ang pagkakataong ganito dahil iyong "family bonding" ay biglang nabibigyan ng mahigit na importansiya at muling makapiling ang nawawalang pagmamahalan sa isa't isa.” -- Relative, Jersey City, New Jersey
"Dalawang araw kaming walang pasok, isinara ang mga kalsada at highways … parang ghost town dito sa amin, maraming mga walang kuryente … ang problema ko lang ay walang mga paninda ang grocery stores kasi walang nag-de deliver ng mga goods … okey lang, may pagkain pa naman kami ditto.” -- Mambulaoan, Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania (via Facebook)
"Grunt of the storm, we have minor roof damage and few fallen trees but overall we're fine and never lost power.” -- Mambulaoan, city in New Jersey (via Facebook )
"Ayos man kami Percy … 60MPH pero no damage sa harong ko…" -- Mambulaoan, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania (via Facebook )
"We live in a place that borders New Jersey and Pennsylvania and its located in a secluded mountain ranges … it's beautiful during summer time, but never expected seeing uprooted trees everywhere during the storm … was so cold in sub-zero temperature, raining so hard with no heat, running water, telephone connection and electrical power … man, I told my wife: there's nothing we can do except to go to safer ground (and that's my parents place in Jersey city.) -- Cousin, Jersey City, New Jersey
"God is merciful saving us all. Our house was partially damaged. I have to replace sidings, gutters and garage roofing. Thanks for checking our conditions here, we don't have such things in Michigan huhhh!!!! -- Friend, Ocean Grove, New Jersey (via Facebook )
"Iyong mga mabababang lugar ay flooded about two feet, mga sanga ng puno ay nagka-putol-putol, grabe ang ulan at malakas ang hangin ... wala naman kaming power failure dito sa aming lugar." -- My wife's high school classmate and friend, Virginia Beach, Virginia
"Hi, Pers, thanks pare … naalaala ko tuloy noong mga college students tayo sa UE, pag lubog sa baha ang Lepanto, Bustillos at Espana... masarap maglunoy talaga .... marami kang makikitang mapuputing hita … ahhh este … MALI PARE --- ha-ha-ha-ha!!!! Washington DC had minor street floodings resulting from Hurricane Sandy … how are you doing there in Michigan, okey lang ba kayo diyan"? – A college buddy, Washington, DC (Via Facebook)
"Our roof will be requiring replacement shingles, part of our roofing was damaged." -- Taken from Facebook Mambulaoan account, Union City, New Jersey
"My wife and children were so frightened because of the deafening and rumbling sounds of wind … clouds so dark and heavy pouring rain and it seemed no point of stopping.. I have to keep my spirit strong and told them: It gonna be alright. Power … we can live without it … but without running water, heat and phone line working that was really impossible. What scared me most was when I can’t find food supplies and bottled water after walking seven blocks away from our house … everything was miserable. Well, thanks goodness, private relief groups were handling blankets, drinking water and canned goods in the next street and my phone battery charged at CNN stand-by news vehicles." --- Former co-employee and good friend from Taylor, Michigan who moved to Queens, New York in 1997 (via Facebook).
I tried knowing the updates/situations of other "kababayang Mambulaoans” affected by the storm through their phones, email addresses and Facebook accounts but it was all futile for now as their areas where they are were still undergoing recovery process.
People wait for gas at a Hess fuelling station in Brooklyn, New York Harbor, November 2, 2012. – Picture courtesy of Reuters/Brendan McDermid
Boats pushed up by Hurricane Sandy lie against residences next to a marina on November 2, 2012 in the Staten Island borough of New York City. – Picture courtesy of John Moore/Getty Images/AFP
Residents look over the remains of burned homes in the Rockaways section of New York, October 30, 2012. – Picture courtesy of Reuters/Keith Bedford
A woman stands alone in water in front of destroyed homes on Cedar Grove Avenue in a neighborhood where many houses were heavily damaged or completely destroyed by storm surge flooding from Hurricane Sandy on the south side of the Staten Island section of New York City, November 1, 2012. – Picture courtesy of Reuters/Mike Segar
A damaged house is seen after Hurricane Sandy passed through in the greatly affected community of Atlantique on Fire Island, New York October 30, 2012. – Picture courtesy of Reuters/Lucas Jackson
Taxis sit in a flooded lot after Hurricane Sandy October 30, 2012 in Hoboken, New Jersey. – Picture courtesy of Michael Bocchieri/Getty Images/AFP