Reporting Alex DeMetrick
CRISFIELD, Md. (WJZ)– Governor Martin O’Malley got a first-hand look at the damage on Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore. The surge from monster storm Sandy flooded Crisfield, but residents are now starting to clean up.
Alex DeMetrick reports the town of Crisfield is finally dry enough to begin cleaning up.
Crisfield’s welcome mat is the town’s dock which superstorm Sandy shredded. Collecting the pieces before they do any damage to boats is just one of the cleanup jobs the storm left behind in the watermen’s community in the southern tip of Maryland.
“My building took a beating. It’s the worst I’ve seen since I’ve been around,” Mark Milbourne said.
When Sandy hit, the storm surge swept into Crisfield, quickly sealing off the town and forcing the evacuation of more than 100 people stranded between rising water and safety.
“The water was deep enough that humvees were getting flooded out and rescuing people was getting very difficult,” Crisfield Mayor Percy J. Purnell said.
Gov. Martin O’Malley toured the town with the mayor. It included Crisfield’s hospital.
“The single biggest thing is before you can do anything, is get the sitting water tested by MDE [Maryland Department of the Environment] quickly. Clearly, Crisfield took it the hardest in terms of the sea level rise and the tidal surge, and lot of people have been swamped out of their home,” O’Malley said.
Wind also took a toll, taking out electric lines and flattening road signs. That meant it took muscle power to clean up the muddy debris left behind or pay for cleaning services with generators.
Business is brisk because for many, this is the first chance to get back into homes and businesses after waters finally receded overnight.
The only silver lining Sandy left is that no one in Crisfield was hurt. Anything else positive comes from the town itself.
“It makes you a little humble. But at least we’re getting a little sunshine today. We’ll make out,” Milbourne said.
Besides Crisfield, Gov. O’Malley surveyed damage in Ocean City.