PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was five years ago today that parts of New Jersey were being hammered by Superstorm Sandy. So how is the Garden State faring today? It depends on who you talk to.
Governor Chris Christie’s assessment is, not surprisingly, upbeat.READ MORE: Mother Of 6 Stabbed To Death In West Philly Had Protective Order Against Fiance Charged In Her Murder
“I’d say we’re probably about 85% done now,” the Governor said at an event this week. “We’ve probably got about a thousand families left to get back in their homes which is pretty good given we started at 365 thousand homes.”
Activists on the recovery front paint a far bleaker picture.
“We have families that have made it home,” New Jersey Resource Project Director Amanda Devecka-Rinear told KYW Newsradio, “but that road has taken a financial toll and a toll on people’s health both physical and emotional.”
She believes mistakes made mostly by the Christie administration made the recovery more difficult for many people.READ MORE: Philabundance Distributing More Food Than Ever Amid Skyrocketing Prices Caused By Inflation
“I think that they’re not home yet because of layers of failures,” Devecka-Rinear added, “and if we look at the recovery programs and the supports that were put in place, in retrospect, we realize there’s lots of things we could have done better.”
Christie admits it hasn’t been easy. One company brought in to lead recovery efforts had to be replaced about a year in, but its replacement did much to address administrative problems.
And he insists the state is better prepared for the next Sandy.
“We now will finally finish the project building a protective dune system from Cape May to Sandy Hook,” he said, “so that our beachfront will be protected again where we won’t see what we saw in other parts of this state.”MORE NEWS: Darren Arnold Sought For Allegedly Setting Fire To West Philly Home Where 150 Jugs Of Gasoline Were Found
He’s also highlighting improvements to the state’s electrical grid and the placement of additional resources, like backup generators, available to hospitals and other facilities if needed.