LITTLE FALLS, NJ — Some New Jersey families have learned the hard way that the cost of flood insurance is a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of the flood damage.
Dana Youssef and her family lived on Harrison Street in Little Falls, New Jersey when Hurricane Floyd came to town almost two decades ago and they learned that lesson then. It came in handy this year as they dealt with the days of torrential rain.
An insurance worker was at the home Wednesday to inspect the flood damage. Youssef's father has kept up flood insurance premium payments all these years.
They're still cleaning up the gunk from a foot and a half of flood water on their main first floor. The basement was filled with water all the way up to the ceiling.
"It was disgusting," Youssef said. "It was brown, murky water."
A once raging Peckman River, which has since returned to looking more like a babbling brook, is responsible for devastating some 400 homes between Little Falls and neighboring Woodland Park.
Many homeowners in this neighborhood who do not have a mortgage chose not to carry flood insurance and they’re wondering if Governor Phil Murphy’s newly declared State of Emergency will lead to some kind of financial aid.
In the meantime, volunteers are handing out bleach and other donated supplies. It doesn't mean much to the families in this neighborhood who homes have already been condemned in the aftermath of the storms.
The Youssefs do not need the town’s input. They’ve had enough.
“That’s the conversation we’ve been having for the past couple of days, ever since this happened," Youssef said. "We’re done. This is – it’s devastating to have to go through this. I’ve lived in this house since I’ve 8 years old. I’m 31 now. And to have to go through this – it’s too much."