- Associated Press - Thursday, October 29, 2015

TOMS RIVER, N.J. (AP) - The latest developments on events in New Jersey marking the third anniversary of Superstorm Sandy (all times local):

5:15 p.m.

Gov. Chris Christie admits mistakes were made in the response to devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy, but says they were corrected and says the loudest critics are “usually the ones who have done the least.”

Christie spoke at a moving company in Moonachie that was suffered severe flooding and damage from Sandy. Representatives of family-operated Booth Movers said Thursday they have completely recovered and are seeing revenue increases thanks to help from the state.

Christie admitted some of the criticisms of the way in which aid was disbursed after the storm were valid. But he said he was “in uncharted territory” due to the extent of the damage.

He vowed that any families still hurting from the storm would have their issues addressed.


3:20 p.m.

The state has bought three homes in a flood-prone section of Linden, the first of 40 offers to acquire and raze homes in areas that repeatedly flood in the city.

The state Department of Environmental Protection says the three home purchases are funded entirely by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Buyouts are underway in 12 municipalities in six counties statewide.

Offers have been made to 695 homeowners and 526 have accepted.

Closings have been completed on 395 properties, 259 of which have been demolished.

Environmentalists note that none of the purchases have occurred in shore areas hit hard by Sandy, but the state says it has not found willing sellers in those spots.


1:20 p.m.

Gov. Chris Christie’s office is defending its often-stated estimate that 365,000 buildings in New Jersey were damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

A spokesman for the governor says that number was calculated by emergency management offices around the state.

Brian Murray says the state Department of Insurance and Banking reported nearly 340,000 initial homeowner insurance claims were filed, along with approximately 71,500 residential flood insurance claims. Accounting for overlaps, the department estimated 365,000 buildings were damaged.

Several Sandy advocate groups say that figure is misleading, making it appears as if a far greater percentage of Sandy victims have recovered three years later.

The Fair Share Housing Center cites federal data asserting 40,500 primary residences, and 15,600 rental units sustained “severe” or “major” damage in the storm.

12:45 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez says mistakes by the federal and state governments have hurt New Jersey’s recovery from Superstorm Sandy.

In a Senate floor speech Thursday on the third anniversary of the storm, Menendez said many New Jerseyans still cannot get back into their storm-damaged homes.

The New Jersey Democrat said their rebuilding efforts were hurt by inefficiencies and outright mistakes by government agencies.

He also said partisan and geographic differences cannot be allowed to inhibit aid to victims of future catastrophic storms.


12:15 p.m.

Part of a beach replenishment project in Cape May County has been completed and work will now move to a northern section of Ocean City.

Equipment in Sea Isle City is being broken down and moved to Ocean City as the $57.6 million project continues.

State and local officials held a ceremony Thursday on the third anniversary of Superstorm Sandy to commemorate the completion.

The project, which began in April, was designed to provide southern Ocean City, the Strathmere section of Upper Township and Sea Isle City greater protection from flooding, and reduced impacts from coastal erosion during storms.

The completed portion is one of several along the New Jersey coastline being funded by $1.2 billion appropriated by Congress to rebuild the state’s beaches following Sandy.


6:15 a.m.

New Jersey remains a work in progress three years after Superstorm Sandy devastated some coastal communities and left thousands without electricity for days.

Events to celebrate and to criticize recovery efforts are taking place around the state to mark Thursday’s anniversary.

Residents displaced by the storm continue to camp out across from the Statehouse in Trenton in a protest that began Tuesday.

Representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are in Sea Isle City to outline beach and dune construction plans.

The state’s utilities are in Brick Township to highlight efforts they’ve made to improve the power grid.

Officials in Middlesex County are discussing a milestone in flood-prone home purchases through a state program.

Gov. Chris Christie speaks in Moonachie, which is elevating its town hall.

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