With the approval by the Senate following the House of Reprsentatives' passing of the relief fund of $9.7 billion for the hardest hit victims of Hurricane Sandy in the twin-states of New York and New Jersey, the spate of criticisms trailing the delay is expected to abate, at least for now.
The fund from the National Flood Insurance Program is meant specifically to cater for flood insurance claims for home owners and businesses most devastated by the October ending hurricane.
Most private insurers in the country shy away from taking up flood-related insurance policy, a situation that prompted the establishmnent of the program for natural disaster victims especially flood.
The program is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, whose officials say that about 140,00 claims have already being filed by victims, with another 115,000 pending.
The Friday passing of the bill is being long awaited with politicians from accross party lines, and victims of the worst natural disaster after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, complaining about the unsual delay, citing the quick response by way of federal aid to Katrina victims.
In comparison, victims say while it took only 10 days for the hurricane victims in 2005 to get $50 billion in federal aid, latest victims waited agonizing 2 months for government to extend similar gesture toward them, adding that it's unfair.
A resident of Keansburg, N.J., Barbara Kirchoff reportedly said that "My parents have nothing." She added that "They need this money. A good portion of my town is a ghost town. They need help, now."
In Staten Island, N.Y, a worker at the local Amazon Deli, Nigel Jawad was quoted as saying that "Everybody keeps saying, 'Where's the money?' That's all I hear from people. People have no confidence in the government anymore."
Politicians including Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J. said victims are unhappy about the development as they await assistance from the government. "People are waiting to be paid." LoBiondo said, "They're sleeping in rented rooms and some cots somewhere, and they're not happy. They want to get their lives back on track, and it's cold outside. They see no prospect of relief."
The relief package is the first phase of such grant, as another sum of $51 billion Sandy recovery fund will come to vote in the House on January 15, with the Senate's deliberation on further relief expected a week after.
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