President Biden tours flood-soaked New Jersey, but residents remain angry and frustrated
President Joe Biden toured areas of New Jersey on Tuesday that were damaged by the remnants of Ida.
The president surveyed the damaged towns and spoke to residents impacted by the storm, along with Gov. Phil Murphy, Sen. Cory Booker and other elected officials. There were a lot of touching moments, including the president giving a hug to one kid in Manville.
But despite the effort, residents in the impacted towns want to know what happens next.
Manville saw many homes destroyed by flooding and fires. In a town of around 10,000 people, many people have stories to tell.
“I get up at 4 a.m. I was making coffee. For some reason, I look out the window, the water was already by the tree. So I wake everybody up,” Andres Hidalgo said.
Hildalgo said that now he has to replace many of his belongings. He watched the president tour near his home in the Lost Valley section of Manville. It was one of the hardest hit areas in the town, blocks from the Millstone River.
Biden offered his support for the family of young Zachary Robles.
“He said, like, how did I survive the flood and my family?” Zachary said.
The family survived by climbing on the roof of their home and waiting for a rescue boat.
The Robles family is looking at around $100,000 in repairs. And while Zachary’s father Luis Robles said he appreciated that the president came back, he said that the time for talk is over. Something must be done to protect Manville from disastrous weather.
"Just dredging out the two rivers making them deeper. Anything, anything so this disaster doesn't happen,” he said.
It is a sentiment echoed around the town. And also a lot of anger because the flooding has happened before. And while nearby Bound Brook has taken steps to improve flooding, Manville residents said that the town is falling short.
Frustration is mounting for those who have been cleaning for more than a week.
“Tried to talk to a firefighter. They couldn’t give us a pump. They said they have nothing,” Shah Syed said.
Syed said that he is waiting for his insurance company to call him back, but that he has been having difficulty getting in contact with them. Others said that they have had better luck and are starting the process to pay for the damage.