Protesters drown out Chris Christie on fourth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy

Many people still cannot return to their homes.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). CREDIT: AP Photo/Julio Cortez
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). CREDIT: AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Protesters heckled Gov. Chris Christie for not doing enough for recovery efforts during a visit to a seaside bar in New Jersey marking the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.

“It truly is something to highlight that in four years, we’ve helped to restore the households of nearly everyone affected by the storm that impacted nearly 365,000 homes and we’re down to 1,700 left of people who are not back in their homes,” Christie said during the event.

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For nearly 15 minutes, protesters interjected to refute those numbers. “That’s a bullshit number and you know it,” George Kasimos, the co-founder of a group called Stop FEMA, shouted at the governor. He added,“I’ve got to shout at my governor to get something done… I don’t even call you governor any more.”

Christie largely remained silent during the confrontation, changing tactics from his harsh response to a protester two years ago to “sit down and shut up.” That protester, Jim Keady, was also present at the event.

For the better half of a week in late October and early November 2012, Superstorm Sandy battered much of New Jersey and New York City. More than 40,000 residential homes and 16,000 rental units were determined to have sustained “severe” or “major” damage in New Jersey alone.

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Four years on, recovery efforts remain “far from complete,” with thousands of families still waiting for state aid to rebuild their homes, according to the Fair Share Housing Center. And only one third of homeowners finished construction through the state’s Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program.

Anger over Christie’s leadership after Sandy also boiled over last year when the governor vetoed legislation that would let homeowners affected by the storm from entering into foreclosure until 2019. He sent the legislation back to be rewritten on concerns that “the state might somehow be liable for unpaid payments,” The Star Ledger’s Mark Di Ionno wrote.

A joint investigation from NPR and Frontline found that some of the private companies that administer the federal government’s flood insurance program made between $240 million and $406 million in profit each year for the last four years. The investigation also found that homeowners who have paid flood insurance for decades did not receive the full amount of money covered by their policy.