Pictures of smashed houses and overturned outbuildings seem to dominate the news headlines in these days after Sandy subsided. But the biggest impact of the storm can be seen in the faces of those affected. Two longtime residents who lost their home just stared ahead with a blank look and walked more slowly than usual trying to get a grasp on it all. Fatigue probably played a role in their facial expressions after being up all night Monday and then spending Tuesday in a makeshift shelter. Two watermen long known for a “devil may care” attitude toward life had watery eyes as they considered how the storm would affect their future. Another neighbor expressed rage with a scavenger who show up to pick up the pieces of our property from the roadways and beaches. Most rural bayside residents don’t have much to lose, yet some lost everything. The immediate reaction is despair: give up, move away, get away from the never-ending barrage of floods along the bay. Depression is a serious risk here in this community in the face of more frequent and more severe storms.
All I could do was to suggest that things might look different in a week, and join in the effort to pick up the debris. I know that staying focused in the moment right now can be the most effective way to fight depression and move toward a better position for the future. Today the main parts of the marina are cleaned up, the watermen are back to work catching crabs and the state police now have increased patrols to stop looting and vandalism.
Enlarge Spencer Kent/South Jersey TimesThese pictures were taken in the Gandy’s Beach and Money Island areas of Downe Township as News reporter Spencer Kent traveled with members of the Downe Township and Bridgeton Fire/Rescue Squad and the National Guard. At the height of the storm, rescue squad members got around via front-end loader. Some images feature several sheds that were blown into the roadway in one area. The concrete blocks in some shots were part of the retaining wall meant to protect homes from the bay.