by Mikaela and Sean
Having moved around quite a bit in her adult years, Alison was used to large storms and the impacts they had on her communities. Hurricanes such as Irene and Sandy and the derecho in 2012 wreaked havoc, leaving the state of both her home and surroundings each with more problems than the last. She and her family were forced to evacuate their home during both the Irene and Sandy disasters. After each storm, phone lines and electric went down for three days to a week. Nuisance flooding became a recurring issue. Sandy, in particular, left Alison’s basement lying in six feet of water. Her rented house in Atlantic City seemed to develop foundation cracks.
Now, working for New Jersey Resource Project, Alison devotes her time and hard work to sharing the stories of the people just like her who are still being affected by these storms and informing others about what they can do to help. She is passionate about the topic of renewable energy. Alison thinks that integration of large windmills and turbines will make for cleaner air and energy that comes at a cheaper price and provides employment for many. That being said, many people do not know of these possibilities. It is crucial that communities get informed and that everyone does what they can to keep themselves and their neighbors safe and happy.
New Jersey Resource Project has brought attention to programs and government funding that many victims of Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy were unaware of. Many people affected by the storm were unaware of these programs because they were too far away from their homes, or they were forced to move after the storm and did not have transportation to these centers. People living in the danger zones also have flood insurance to cover the cost or rebuild after a flood or disaster but when the storm hit many families only received 10% to one third of what their claim should have been. Despite these feeble attempts at helping hurricane victims, there were other programs such as RREM (Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation Program) which were more helpful in bringing awareness and financial support to those who lost their homes in Irene or Sandy. However, one program is not enough to help the thousands of people who still do not have homes. Alison’s ongoing work with NJRP brings attention to the continuous nuisance flooding, lack of resources, and other tribulations many hurricane victims still deal with almost ten years after the storm.
Alison works hard in the fight against climate change and coastal flooding for herself and especially her daughter, whom Alison wants to grow up in a world where she doesn’t have to fear evacuation and worsened conditions in the climate. Without proper mitigation through a reformed National Flood Insurance Program and community led adaptation projects combined with renewable energy to reduce emissions, we risk losing up to 62,000 home in NJ by 2045.