Oct. 28 - New York's Staten Island was one of Hurricane Sandy's hardest hit areas, and the process of rebuilding has been a slow one. Jillian Kitchener reports.
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Hurricane Sandy killed at least 159 people and damaged more than 650,000 homes in New York, New Jersey, and other states.
There's no denying Staten Island was one of the hardest hit areas.
Images of overturned boats, on grass, in front yards, among destroyed homes, cannot be forgotten.
SOUNDBITE: STATEN ISLAND RESIDENT RICHARD FOX, SAYING:
"I found two bodies here yesterday -- two senior citizens who live in Harbor Court Residence right here. So, he was 89, she was 65. They couldn't make it out in time so… Their car was abandoned, and it seemed very suspicious, because it was just left there. And it didn't seem right, you know what I mean? And then yesterday morning cleaning up the debris right where the boat is right there, they found two of them together."
The island's southern coast is exposed to the Atlantic.
And when Sandy struck, 15 foot waves came ashore, tearing houses apart.
A Staten Island resident of 18 years, Carol Diaz watched as 7 to 8 feet of water surged through her family's coastal home, destroying her belongings inside.
Just a few days after the storm hit, Carol was interviewed.
SOUNDBITE: STATEN ISLAND RESIDENT CAROL DIAZ, SAYING:
"It's surreal. You wake up every day and... you wake up and you're okay and then in a second it hits you that all this happened and you don't have a place of your own anymore. It's pretty devastating. And you always think it's never going to be you and then it is."
The Diaz family returned this September, and Carol returned with a new outlook.
"I'm not that freaked out about things anymore. There's not a whole lot that can upset me anymore. Except losing my family or someone in my family. But other than that, I've gone through it now. So, I see the whole picture. I see it clear and from a different vantage point. I look at things differently now."
It's been a slow process rebuilding. Only a fraction of the aid money earmarked for recovery has been used.
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