▶ Watch Video: Infrastructure problems in the U.S. highlighted by Ida’s destruction
Jason and Jonathon Marotta’s house was submerged in water engulfed in flames and smoke as Hurricane Ida made its way through their Manville, New Jersey home. Now, a charred stove is about the only thing recognizable in the rubble.
“We were just talking about how the house is salvageable. We can try to get some stuff on the second, maybe the first floor and maybe a few minutes later after we said that, we see the roof blow off,” Jon told CBS News’ Mola Lenghi.
The deadly storm that hit Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane is linked to more than 60 deaths and damages up to $95 billion. According to insurance experts, claims from the Ida could cost about $18 billion.
Now, New Jersey’s Democratic leaders are calling on Congress to pass a pending infrastructure bill. The bill would provide funds to help communities become more resilient to disasters and severe weather.
“These storms now are more frequent, they’re more intense. We desperately need that climate resiliency infrastructure… We’re the most densely populated state in the nation with a location second to none, but very exposed to the impacts of climate change,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
Amy Chester is the managing director at Rebuild by Design, a nonprofit focused on climate resiliency. She said that updated infrastructure is critical to saving lives.
“Either we throw a massive amount of money at the problem and build the infrastructure that we need to withstand the future or we move out of harm’s way,” Chester said.
Residents most impacted by the frequent storms said while they want to be optimistic that change is coming, they are exhausted from dealing with the aftermath. Anita Menke faces the prospect of rebuilding her home for the third time after this latest storm flooded her Manville home. She said she is frustrated with the government, which she says has promised infrastructure changes in the past.
“We don’t have much hope because every time we have been promised that we’re going to have help, that something’s going to happen to prevent us from being flooded but nothing is being done,” Menke said.