FEMA Sets Up Disaster Centers In Hoboken, N.J.

We have the latest from Hoboken, N.J., which is still dealing with the effects of superstorm Sandy.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

We begin this hour in New Jersey, one of the states hardest hit by this week's storm. Twelve people are confirmed dead in the state and whole neighborhoods along the Jersey coast are waterlogged. But flood waters are receding, and that includes in the city of Hoboken, just across the Hudson from Manhattan.

SIEGEL: People who were stranded in Hoboken are emerging from their homes or have been rescued by the National Guard. Still, it could take more than a week for power to be restored. In the meantime, federal officials are setting up neighborhood disaster centers.

NPR's Jeff Brady spent the day talking with residents of Hoboken. He takes us for a walk along one block.

JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: I'm standing at the corner of 8th and Willow in Hoboken and this is a sound you hear all over the city today, gas generators powering electric pumps. This one is connected to a four-inch pipe and it is putting out a huge gush of water from someone's basement into the street.

JEN JOHNSON: Somebody has been drinking a lot of Bud Light Limes on our street. I don't like this. My brother does. But... (Laughs) My name is Jen Johnson. I live here on 8th and Willow in Hoboken. Everybody on our street right now, we just are pumping our basements out and just trying to pick up the garbage at the same time to keep the gutters clear so the water can come down.

MIKE MORENO: I'm Mike Moreno. I live in Hoboken, New Jersey.

BRADY: What are you doing? You got a pizza box in your hand there.

MORENO: Right now, just trying to clean up the front of the building. We had five feet of water in the basement that we managed to pump out, like until one o'clock in the morning last night.

BRADY: Did you get damage above the basement level? Were there any other...

MORENO: No, luckily. Probably if it went another two or three more feet, it would have got into the first floor apartments. I live actually on the first floor so I stayed up that night just monitoring the water level. I was out here on the street.

BRADY: What did it look like?

MORENO: It looked like part of the Hudson River. It was just long. Yeah, once it started coming down on the street, it happened really quickly.

BRADY: I'm about halfway down this street now and I'm noticing something with the cars parked here. A lot of them have a whole bunch of condensation on the windows. Clearly, these are the cars that were left and were flooded.

EOIN FINNEGAN: My name is Eoin Finnegan. This is my wife, Monica.

MONICA HANRATTY: I think we're a lot better off than most. So we have no lights, but we've got plenty of food. We just have to clean up now, the basement. The basement, the water was up to your neck. So all our stuff, it's gone. But that's all right.

PETE CIOCE: Pete Cioce, 835 Willow Avenue.

BRADY: Is that Hexol I smell?

CIOCE: Yeah, it's - we're trying to put, like, Lysol all over the place or something like some disinfectant to clean up. It was really - the smell, the smell was horrible. It was raw sewage and a mixture of diesel in the water. So, you know, we had sandbags set up right here to protect us from the water. It didn't matter. The water was coming in from the sewer.

BRADY: Here we are at the end of the block at 9th and Willow. Not much water on the street here, a few puddles. But garbage bags and muddy trash as far as I can see. And that is just one block in Hoboken today.

Jeff Brady, NPR News, Hoboken, New Jersey.

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