NORTH NAPLES, Fla - One year after Superstorm Sandy made landfall, sad and somber memories still exist. Sandy killed more than 125 people and caused $60 billion in damage.
There is a lot of frustration among snowbirds in Southwest Florida, who were caught in the storm. After a year, they say many damaged homes up north are still in bad shape and those victims feel there's a lot of blame to go around.
"To me, it seems like it was only yesterday," says Mary Bennett, a resident of Breezy Point, New York and North Naples. Bennett considers herself one of the lucky ones. A year after Superstorm Sandy flooded her out of her Breezy Point home she's able to move back in, but most of her neighbors aren't so lucky.
"I would say there are 35-38 percent of the people back and out of that 300 homes were completely destroyed either by fire or storm damage. None of them are back," says Bennett.
On October 29, 2012 a transformer blew from Sandy. Flames burned down more than 120 homes. It was that fire that no one expected, that devastated the heart of Breezy Point.
"We had no gas or electric down there at all for at least four months," says Bennett.
Video from You Tube shows Breezy Point 76 days after Superstorm Sandy. 365 days later, progress is being made, but there is still a lot of work to be done
"I have gone back a few times and I see progress when we go back, but there are an awful lot of empty spaces on our block," says Barbara Feddern, a snowbird who splits time between Breezy Point and North Naples with her husband Joseph.
The Feddern's say they are thankful to have a second home in Southwest Florida where they've stayed while rebuilding in Breezy Point, but because they have two homes, they can't get any help from FEMA. "The politicians don't seem to be doing anything either," says Joseph Feddern. "I am very angry about the whole situation."
Relief that they are able to rebuild, but frustration there has been little support along the way. "I got no money from FEMA, I didn't have flood insurance, so I'm into my kids inheritance and into borrowing Peter to pay Paul," says Bennett.
Over the past year, the Breezy Point Disaster Relief Fund has raised more than $2.5 million and they are still collecting donations for the 501(c)(3).
If you would like to help out the residents who are still trying to rebuild, you can send donations to:
Breezy Point Disaster Relief Fund
c/o Lee & Kane PC
2175 Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11234