Many Sandy Flood Victims Still Hung Out to Dry [AUDIO]
Almost nine months after Superstorm Sandy, many Jersey Shore towns hard-hit by the hurricane have rebuilt their boardwalks and reopened their businesses, but thousands of Garden State families that suffered flood damage in their homes are still living like nomads.
Manahawkin resident Mike Mazzucca is one of them.
His home was so badly flooded by the Superstorm that he was told he'd have to rebuild instead of repair, but that's when the problems began.
After filing a claim with his flood insurance company, which is overseen by FEMA, Mazzucca was told the damage was not caused by flooding because the foundation had given way. Even though, it was pointed out the foundation had crumbled because it had been sitting in seven feet of water!
"The language in the policy allows both the insurance company and FEMA to hide behind it, and pick and choose- almost cherry pick if you will - the type of claims that they're going to want to pay out," says Mazzucca. "Even though our policy clearly states that it's covered, we're still struggling to understand why that part of our claim has been denied."
Mazzucca has filed an appeal with FEMA, but he points out "every piece of correspondence that comes from FEMA has no address, and has no telephone number that you can call to find out a status report. So many people like us are falling into the crack of - it's a black hole - there's no response, there's no communication."
In the meantime, he's living in different hotels near work, paying out of his own pocket, while his wife stays in a small room at a relative's house and his son is living with friends.
"It's extremely challenging, you're not settled, there's no normalcy right now," he says. "It's an emotional rollercoaster because when frustration sets in, then anger sets in, it's almost like a divorce or a death, you're going through all those steps of emotions again and again and again."
Mazzucca adds he considers Governor Christie to be a no-nonsense kind of guy who puts all the baloney aside and uses common sense, but the state does not seem to have much influence over FEMA.
So he's just keeping his fingers crossed his appeal will be successful, and FEMA will force his insurance company to pay for the coverage he always thought he had.