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Christie: Shore Destruction is 'Unfathomable'

Restoring power, access to fuel are immediate priorities, governor says

Parts of the Jersey Shore are “unrecognizable,” Gov. Christie said Friday at a FEMA relief center in Brick.

Christie and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno toured parts of Ocean County, including Mantoloking and Bay Head Friday, before coming to a FEMA relief center set up at Emma Havens Young Elementary School in Brick to address the media.

“The destruction the lieutenant governor and I have seen … is just unfathomable,” said Christie. “I’ve driven on Route 35 since I was coming to the shore with my parents as a young child. And you just can’t recognize the place. It is heartbreaking."

“It’s unrecognizable,” he said. “Once you’re able to go there, you will not believe what you see.”

Chritie described walking on Route 35 where sand was piled calf-deep.

“I tell you this because I want you to understand just how destructive this storm was,” an emotional Christie said.

The governor said his immediate priorities going forward will be restoring power, upping fuel supplies and easing lines at gas pumps, getting children back to school and ensuring there is clean water statewide.

Christie said 1.4 million customers statewide were still without power Friday afternoon, down from 2.7 million customers at the height of the storm. He said he expects the vast majority of the state to have power restored by Election Day, next Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Power to Long Beach Island is expected to be restored by Friday night, though power to the Barnegat Peninsula may take much longer to restore, the governor said.

The state is working to obtain specific timelines on when certain areas will be restored, and Christie said his administration would hold utility companies to their estimates.

“No one knows how to pressure people better than I do,” he said.

The state will be prioritizing restoring power to gas station as well as fuel deliveries, some of which will be delivered by the National Guard, the governor announced.

Turning off natural gas lines on the barrier islands was a decision “not lightly” made by state officials, since the gas lines will now be destroyed and have to be rebuilt, said Christie. But continuing fires fuled by open lines made the decision necessary.

Repopulating the barrier islands will take time, he said.

“We’re going to let you on there as soon as we have made it safe for you to be on there,” said Christie, adding that Long Beach Island fared significantly better in the storm than the Barnegat Peninsula and would probably be open sooner.

“It’s not that I don’t want you to go and see your homes,” he said. “It’s that I want you to be safe when you go and see your homes.”

For those whose homes have been destroyed or rendered unlivable by the storm, Christie said FEMA would be providing temporary housing. The federal agency has set up mobile relief centers in Brick and Cape May Point where residents can go to obtain information, make claims and receive assistance.

The Brick relief center is located in the parking lot of Emma Havens Young Elementary School.

Long term goals will be consulting with the Army Corps of Engineers on how to rebuild most areas, and discussing whether some should not be rebuilt, said Christie. Either way, a priority will be ensuring the state’s $38 billion tourism industry is maintained.

Christie said the priorities have shifted from search and rescue missions to “charting a course to rebuilding.”

“And that’s what we’re about to embark upon, all of us together.”

karen November 02, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Not usually a Christie fsn but. I am loving tbis governor. Go Christir 2016.
Judy Caruso November 02, 2012 at 10:17 PM
He is a man on a mission!! Thank goodness he's our gov!'
MLev November 02, 2012 at 10:40 PM
he's dealt with A LOT as a gov'
Kim November 02, 2012 at 10:48 PM
He has beet taken off the a-hole list for sure. Good job.
Kim November 02, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Been I mean.
esther November 02, 2012 at 10:52 PM
He's bombastic and a bully. Nothing's changed. He just has a natural disaster as a target now not Navy Seals, teachers, of the Democratic Legislature. He likes fighting things that can't fight back and then he appears like a manly man.
Jeff November 02, 2012 at 11:30 PM
The Democratic legislators and the unions can't fight? What's life like on your planet? The brave politician in NJ is the one willing to stand up to union power and entrenched legislators and still get things done. I'm sure it's been a shock to you since it almost never happens. Maybe you should move to California.
takemethere2 November 03, 2012 at 12:50 AM
He's been a take charge leader in a time of extraordinary strife in this state. He says it like he means it and gets it done. Maybe he could teach our mess of a government a few things. Thank you Governor Christie for all your tireless efforts to make NJ the best it should be.
Nose Wayne November 03, 2012 at 01:31 AM
We wouldn't have had all these deaths if everyone listened to Governor Christie and left the shore area.He told everyone "DON'T BE STUPID". Those didn't listen, so sad.
Kathy Valva November 03, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Be nice if he would tour the upper portion of his state.
Harlan Consider November 03, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Why? The damage and shortages in the north pale in comparison to the devastation and loss of life in the coastal areas.
Scott Madison November 03, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Trees down and lack of power is no comparison to the utter nuclear-bomb like destruction in other areas. He is focusing where the priorities need to be right now....
FastFusion November 03, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Just as long as my FEMA tax money isnt used to rebuild someones summer playhouse. If its a primary residence fine.
mike d November 04, 2012 at 03:19 AM
me and my wife had so much fun down at seaside heights a many of summers.its just breaks my heart to see what has happened their now.gods speed jersey shore
jerry November 04, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Still way too unhealthy to be president. The president is constantly dealing with crisis. His heart will not be ale to take the rigors of the job. It a an issue he needs to address.
jerry November 04, 2012 at 04:50 PM
I agree. Why would you build a 2 million dollar house near the ocean. Oh! That's right, there is no global warming. Dumb republican. Well, they have insurance, just build elsewhere.
jerry November 04, 2012 at 04:50 PM
It's all snooky's fault.
Moira November 04, 2012 at 10:45 PM
I'm with you. Actually warming up to him a bit!
PowertothePeople November 05, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Don't confuse bully with brash. I wish other people and entities (like the utility companies) were as upfront and honest as Governor Christie. I respect that he doesn't "sugar coat" his words and I admire that he doesn't put on airs to appease people. He's a results oriented Governor and a strong leader who doesn't get distracted by worrying about his "image". I didn't vote for him because he has a nice personality (which he does when he's not telling some idiot to piss-off).
elle November 06, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Agree!!!

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