Hurricane Sandy Recovery, One Month Later: Alhadad Family Still Struggling for a Place to Stay

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It's been more than a month since Hurricane Sandy tore through the Northeast, leaving behind billions of dollars in damage.

Now as survivors dig out and try to regroup from the Oct. 29 storm even as wintry weather moves in, some are coping better than others.

This is the second of five stories of Sandy victims trying to find their way ahead after the storm.


Hurricane Sandy victims: Alhadad Family

By Meghan Barr

Finding a warm place to lay their heads at night has become a full-time occupation for the Alhadad family, who swam to their SUV in waist-deep water as the ocean roared down their block on New York's Staten Island during the storm.

They slept in the car at first, running the engine to keep warm. But soon the family of six resumed sleeping in their tiny two-room rental home, which was reduced to a soggy, mildewed mess after the water rose nearly to the ceiling on the first floor.

The wreckage of their belongings was thrown out, replaced by donated furniture covered in Red Cross blankets and towels.

Hurricane Sandy victims: Alhadad Family Piled under layers of blankets and sleeping bags on the floor, the family ran a generator for a few hours at night to drift off into a warm sleep. But when morning came, they were chilled to the bone.

"All of us have really bad colds," said Rachael Alhadad, who has a hacking cough. "We just take it day by day, that's all. That's all you can do now."

Last week, FEMA finally put the Alhadads up in two rooms at a nearby Holiday Inn, where they'll stay until the federal money runs out on Dec. 15. After that, if their home is still uninhabitable, the family might be eligible for a two-month rental assistance grant from FEMA. But they haven't made plans and aren't sure what's next.

Rachael and her husband, Amin, spend their days shuttling back and forth between the hotel and the house, cleaning the house and cooking meals on the gas stove, which is one of the only things in the house that still works.

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Hurricane Sandy Destruction -- An Epic Storm
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Hurricane Sandy Recovery, One Month Later: Alhadad Family Still Struggling for a Place to Stay

Rising floodwaters caused by Hurricane Sandy rush into a subterranian parking garage on Monday in Manhattan. Sandy's storm surge was estimated to affect hundreds of thousands of homes along the East Coast.

Vehicles are submerged on 14th Street near the Consolidated Edison power plant in New York. The storm forced the shutdown of mass transit, schools and financial markets, sending coastal residents fleeing, and threatening a dangerous mix of high winds and soaking rain. It ranks high among other recent natural disasters that have destroyed urban areas.

A general view of submerged cars on Avenue C and Seventh Street in Manhattan after severe flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy, with widespread power outages and significant flooding.

Lower Manhattan goes dark during Hurricane Sandy. Power has been out in parts of New York all week and might not be turned back on until the weekend. It may make many consider whether to buy a standby generator.

The town of Long Beach, N.Y., is submerged by the storm. It was one area where homeowners were desperately trying to prepare for Hurricane Sandy's onslaught.

A person tries to cross the street in Atlantic City, N.J., as Hurricane Sandy churns toward the East Coast. The city was like a ghost town, with casinos shuttered, tourists fleeing and many parts of the town inundated in knee-high water.

A home in Manalapan, Fla., shows the severe damage it sustained when Hurricane Sandy passed through. Many homes were left ravaged in the wake of the storm, leaving homeowners worried about what their insurance would cover.

A wave crashes against the shore in Montauk, N.Y., while a person stands on a porch as Hurricane Sandy moves up the coast.

Ocean waves kick up near homes along Peggoty Beach in Scituate, Mass.

Aerial view of the coast in Belmar, N.J., after Hurricane Sandy left widespread damage along the Eastern Seaboard. Homeowners are likely to be turning their attention to how to recover from the storm.

Homes are left destroyed on Highland Street in the Tri-Beach area in Milford, Conn., by Hurricane Sandy. For people in hurriance-prone areas of the country, here's how to hurricane-proof your home.

Waves wash over a ruined roller coaster from a Seaside Heights, N.J., amusement park, after the pier beneath the Star Jet coaster collapsed into the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Sandy. New Jersey got the brunt of the massive storm, which made landfall in the state.

Caleb Lavoie, 17, of Dayton, Maine (front), and Curtis Huard, 16, of Arundel, Maine, leap out of the way as a large wave crashes over a seawall on the Atlantic Ocean during the early stages of Hurricane Sandy in Kennebunk, Maine.

Sailboats rock in choppy water at a dock along the Hudson River Greenway in New York.

Waves pound a lighthouse on the shores of Lake Erie near Cleveland. High winds spinning off the edge of Hurricane Sandy took a vicious swipe at northeast Ohio, uprooting trees, cutting power to hundreds of thousands, closing schools and flooding parts of major commuter arteries that run along Lake Erie.

Firefighters look up at the facade of a four-story building on 14th Street and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan that collapsed onto the sidewalk during Hurricane Sandy.

Downed power lines and a battered road is what Hurricane Sandy left behind as people walk off the flooded Seaside Heights island.

Richard Thomas walks through the floodwaters in front of his home after assisting neighbors in Fenwick Island, Del.

People wade and paddle down a flooded street as Hurricane Sandy approaches in Lindenhurst, N.Y.

An ambulance is stuck in more than a foot of snow near Belington, W.Va, in Sandy's aftermath. The storm buried parts of West Virginia under more than a foot of snow, cutting power to at least 264,000 customers and closing dozens of roads. At least one death was reported.

The view of storm damage over the Atlantic Coast in Mantoloking, N.J. Americans sifted through the wreckage of Hurricane Sandy after the storm passed, with millions left without power. The storm carved a trail of devastation across New York City and New Jersey, killing dozens of people in several states, swamping miles of coastline, and throwing the tied-up White House race into disarray just days before the vote.

A woman walks over the flooded streets of Hoboken, N.J., after Hurricane Sandy hit. The storm was one of the largest in history to hit the East Coast.

A parking lot full of yellow cabs is flooded as a result of Hurricane Sandy in Hoboken, N.J.

A 168-foot water tanker, the John B. Caddell, washed ashore on New York's Staten Island from Hurricane Sandy's powerful winds.

Brian Hajeski, 41, of Brick, N.J., reacts after looking at debris of a home that washed up on to the Mantoloking Bridge in Mantoloking, N.J., the morning after Hurricane Sandy rolled through.

Foundations and pilings are all that remain of brick buildings and a boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J., after they were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

This aerial photo shows burned-out homes in the Breezy Point section of Queens, N.Y., after strong winds whipped a fire into an inferno. The tiny beachfront neighborhood had been evacuated before it was inundated by floodwaters, transforming a quaint corner of the Rockaways into a smoke-filled debris field.

A fire fighter surveys the smoldering ruins of a house in Breezy Point. More than 100 homes were destroyed in a fire which swept through the oceanfront  community during Hurricane Sandy.

A car is buried in sand that was washed in from Hurricane Sandy in Long Beach Island, N.J.

In this aerial photo, people survey destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in Seaside Heights, N.J.

Jim Margiotta digs sand out from under his garage door, which was caused by Hurricane Sandy, in Long Beach, N.Y.

This aerial photo shows a collapsed house along the central Jersey Shore coast.

Heavy surf caused by Hurricane Sandy buckles Ocean Avenue in Avalon, N.J.

Cars are submerged at the entrance to a parking garage in Manhattan in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. A wall of seawater and high winds slammed into the city, destroying buildings and flooding tunnels. 

A woman stands near destroyed homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the Rockaway section of Queens, N.Y. The death toll has risen to nearly 100 in the U.S., with 41 in New York City alone.

Boats are piled on top of each other at the Morgan Marina near Sayreville, N.J.

A man walks by the remains of part of the historic Rockaway boardwalk in Queens, N.Y., after large parts of it were washed away during Hurricane Sandy. 

Waves break in front of a destroyed amusement park wrecked by Hurricane Sandy in Seaside Heights, N.J.

This aerial photo shows burned-out homes in the Breezy Point section of Queens, N.Y., after a massive fire that was fanned by Hurricane Sandy's winds.

Robert Connolly, left, embraces his wife, Laura, as they survey the remains of the home owned by her parents that burned to the ground in Breezy Point. At right is their son, Kyle.

Andrew Seemar, 13, removes items from a room as he and his mother, Kathleen, clean up after their home in Brick, N.J., was flooded during Hurricane Sandy.

Rescuers bring people out by boat in Little Ferry, N.J., in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Olivia Loesner, 16, hugs her uncle, Little Ferry Deputy Fire Chief John Ruff, after she was rescued from her flooded home in Little Ferry, N.J.

The remains of homes destroyed by a fire that swept through the Breezy Point neighborhood in New York City's borough of Queens.

Brian Hajeski, 41, of Brick, N.J., reacts as he looks at debris of a home that washed up on to the Mantoloking Bridge in Mantoloking, N.J., the morning after Hurricane Sandy rolled through.

Virgen Perez, left, and her husband, Nelson Rodriguez, center, look around their home which was flooded by Hurricane Sandy in Atlantic City, N.J.

Johnny Adinolfi is comforted by neighbor John Vento, right, as he stands in what was once the living room of his home in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Massapequa, N.Y.

People take photos of water filling the Bowling Green subway station in Battery Park in Manhattan as New Yorkers cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

This satellite image shows the monstrous size of Hurricane Sandy before it made landfall on the East Coast.

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Now they must wait as their landlord negotiates with his insurance company. As the days grow shorter, the place has become a damp breeding ground for mold.

"They have to bleach the walls. They have to redo all the floors," Rachael said. "The whole thing. The bathroom, the kitchen cupboards, the fridge."

Amin, who emigrated to the U.S. years ago from Dubai, lost his job as a truck driver because he missed so much work after the storm.

The stress of the past few weeks has taken its toll on 14-year-old Ameer and 15-year-old Ayman, who lost all of their school books and supplies in the flood.

"They just got their report cards, and they're not doing very good at all," Rachael said. "It's hard to study. Because then you gotta think about, 'Oh no, I gotta go home to the same thing again.' "



See also:
Hurricane Sandy Victims' Electric Bills Show Charges for Power Despite Blackout

Hurricane Sandy Batters Home Sales in Storm-Affected Areas
Home Insurance for Hurricanes and Floods

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