The Japanese government is donating $500,000 for relief and renewal efforts along the Jersey shore after Hurricane Sandy.
Ambassador Shigeyuki Hiroki, Japanese Consul General in New York, made he announcement at a special meeting with Monmouth Country Freeholders on Nov. 21.
“We are united with the victims,” Ambassador Hiroki told monmouth County officials. “We know how hard it is. So many Americans helped us. It was heartwarming in our time of need.”
As a hint for the future, the Ambassador urged those who suffered losses to be patient. “Reconstruction takes much longer than people think. We are still rebuilding after the tsunami. People need to understand the time factor.”
The Ambassador said it too them three months to just deal with the debris because of radiation problems. He said much of the debris was burned and the rest went into landfills.
Michael E. Oppegaard, Monmouth County Emergency Management Division Coordinator, said that debris cannot be burned in New Jersey because of DEP law.
Freeholder Director, John Curley told me that getting a DEP waiver was discussed with governor Chris Christie last Saturday. No word yet on reaction.
Oppegaard said 3,100 homes have been so damaged that resident cannot move back in. Whether they will have to be demolished has not yet been determined. He said the two country shelters, which served 1,000 people, was closed November 21. He also said that 100 high water rescues were made.
In addition to the losses of private homes, several county public safety buildings and equipment were destroyed.
Both Hiroki and Monmouth County officials said that they thought they had planned for the worst. Everyone agreed that reality was much worse.