Storm victims stream into Cape May FEMA center

Rocio Day, 79, (right) of West New York, seated with her daughter-in-law, Laura Day, and son, James Day, at the FEMA office that opened at the Cape May Courthouse Library. The Days were getting a FEMA loan on Saturday to cover repairs on the family's second home in Cape May County that was damaged from Hurricane Sandy. (Suzette Parmley / Staff)
Rocio Day, 79, (right) of West New York, seated with her daughter-in-law, Laura Day, and son, James Day, at the FEMA office that opened at the Cape May Courthouse Library. The Days were getting a FEMA loan on Saturday to cover repairs on the family's second home in Cape May County that was damaged from Hurricane Sandy. (Suzette Parmley / Staff)
Posted: November 04, 2012

CAPE MAY - There was a steady stream of people seeking assistance at the FEMA office Saturday morning that was set up downstairs at the Cape May Courthouse Library.

Among them was Rocio Day, 79, of West New York, who obtained a FEMA loan to make repairs on her second home on the bay here - one she has yet to see for the first time since Hurricane Sandy struck.

All Day said she knows is there is now four feet of dirt that the storm swept in from the road beneath the home that sits on stilts on Pierce's Point at Cape May Courthouse and that the roof was damaged. She was about to find out how badly.

"We're on our way to see it for the first time," Day said as she sat with her son, James Day, 47, and Laura Day, 43, at the FEMA office as the trio waited to get the documents for the loan. Day did not qualify for a FEMA grant since it was not her primary residence.

"The home is insured, but I want to make sure if the damage is extensive, I can get the money to fix it," Day said.

Such stories played out all morning here as small business owners, displaced renters and homeowners, filtered in seeking assistance and information from a dozen FEMA case workers.

"We are serving the immediate vicinity .. But we are here for anyone who is living or has property in the declared disaster areas," said FEMA recovery manager Kay Phillips. "They can come from New York City."

Linda Kampmeier, 64, of Lower Township, Cape May County, said she has no choice. Time is critical and she needs immediate disaster assistance.

"I have no front yard," said the widow who works as a part-time nurse to supplement her social security income. "I have maybe six feet before the water reaches my front door and washes my house away.

"I'm scared."

From 1-1:30 p.m., Saturday, a teary-eyed Kampmeier was visibly shaken as she described her situation to a FEMA caseworker here. She said when Sandy struck, water from the bay gushed toward her home that was built in the 1950's on a sand dune and engulfed her front yard.

"If another storm goes through here soon, I may not have a home," she said.

Another FEMA site opened in Brick Township, Ocean County, on Friday.

Phillips said the office at 30 Mechanics St., will be here as long as it's needed. Since opening 10 a.m. Friday, she said has seen a steady flow of people.

Phillips encourages anyone who might qualify for FEMA assistance to come in or call the FEMA hotline: 1-800-621-3362

"We're here. We're available," she said. "Please come in and start the recovery process."

Contact Suzette Parmley at 215-854-2855 or sparmley@phillynews.com.

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