Brigantine resident Leslie Hayerich, 62, listens to department heads and FEMA representatives at a town meeting Monday to discuss Hurricane Sandy recovery at Brigantine North Middle School.

Press photo by Barbara Errickson

BRIGANTINE - Hundreds of residents showed up to an FEMA informational meeting Monday night at the North School to ask questions about storm damage.

Several city officials made announcements about how the city is dealing with storm damage, and how they plan to handle this week’s northeaster. Attendees filled the auditorium. Hundreds stood in the back, or sat in the aisles or on the stage, overflowing into the lobby.

Several FEMA officials urged residents to register with FEMA and then fielded questions from the audience.

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Many audience members began to cry as they asked questions, explaining that they had lost everything and asking about how they should proceed.

Peg Nacious is currently staying in an Econo Lodge on the Black Horse Pike. Her residence, a condo that she owned on the north end of the island, was flooded. She wants to get an inspector to her property as soon as possible, but the FEMA hotline is always busy, she said. FEMA officials recommended that she try calling earlier in the morning. Nacious said she had tried that. Officials recommended that she keep trying.

After the meeting, she said that he condo had about a foot of water in it following the storm.

“Today, I was kneeling on my rug trying to pick up all my papers, birth certificates, stuff like that I have hanging on a piece of yarn in the bedroom,” she said. “My pants are still wet.”

Loraine Latzko, who has lived on the island for 40 years, said her home is wiped out and she is staying with a friend temporarily. She found some good information at the meeting but she still felt lost.

“It was informative,” she said. “There were many items, but there is so much that has to be done. You can’t answer everybody. I have not received anything from FEMA. I registered on Friday, and we’re waiting.

Her daughter, Alicia Ervin, came in from Texas to help out.

“We can’t through on the phone,” Ervin said. “It’s just so backed-up. We need temporary housing. The house has limited electrical power. All the power is out except one outlet. We’re fearful to use anything until they say everything is OK. Same with the gas line. We had so much water in the house and we’re worried about all of that.”

Mayor Phil Guenther hosted the meeting. He said that he’s seen a lot of sorrow in the last week, but he called Monday night’s meeting valuable.

“I think what were able to accomplish tonight was that everyone knows that they have to register with FEMA,” he said. “Hopefully they have a better idea of some of the services that are available, not only through FEMA, but through the City of Brigantine.”

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