Hurricane Sandy’s Red Tape Makes a Veteran Say, ‘I’d Rather Go Back to Falluja’

Three years after Hurricane Sandy, homeowners are still wrestling with red tape and flood insurance claims.
News Story (New York)

David W. Chen
New York Times (NYT)
August 18, 2015

Tags: Disaster Recovery, Housing

Organizations mentioned/involved: South Brooklyn Legal Services


To FEMA, the message amounted to a rare acknowledgment to some 142,000 homeowners who filed claims with the agency after the storm that its procedures, which have been plagued by allegations of improprieties relating to engineering reports insurance companies relied upon, may have been seriously flawed. But to Mr. Lynch, who has been driven to the point of desperation by his dealings with one government entity after another, the message seemed like another mirage in his so-far futile quest to rebuild his home in Nassau County.

“This is the most painful thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Mr. Lynch, a 52-year-old Iraq war veteran, said. “I’d rather go back to Falluja.”


“When it was confirmed that these practices were happening — to the extent of outright fraud — it really showed people that they were right, it wasn’t just them,” said Victor Tello, a staff lawyer at South Brooklyn Legal Services, who is coordinating his office’s response to legal issues related to Hurricane Sandy.