Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Harry sees fall-out from Sandy

Prince Harry throws an American football at the American football indoor training centre

Prince Harry has surveyed scenes of devastation in two New Jersey seaside towns that suffered the brunt of Superstorm Sandy.

Harry asked to visit the picturesque Jersey shore to see how people are rebuilding their lives, after he met a US soldier during his deployment to Afghanistan last year who had lost his home in the natural disaster.

The ferocious storm struck the US east coast in October, killing more than 120 people and the cost of the clear-up will be tens of billion of pounds.

With New Jersey's colourful governor Chris Christie as his tour guide, Harry went to the towns of Mantoloking and Seaside Heights on a slender barrier island along the Atlantic Ocean.

He flew by helicopter from New York to Sea Girt National Guard base before driving in a motorcade to Mantoloking, where collapsed houses and buildings reduced to matchwood litter the shore.

Every one of Mantoloking's 521 homes was damaged or destroyed by Sandy, and scores of homes remain piles of rubble. Residents of the wealthy community, largely a summer retreat, were not allowed to move back until February.

The prince walked down a road along the Barnegat Bay side of the town where many houses were obliterated. He looked at the spot where in Seaside Heights, MTV's reality show Jersey Shore was filmed.

Harry toured the boardwalk, currently under reconstruction, and viewed cranes working at the end of Casino Boardwalk, close to the most famous symbol of Superstorm Sandy - the remains of the Jet Star roller coaster that toppled off an amusement pier and into the ocean. Its demolition is due to begin after his visit.

Harry's visit was a coup for Mr Christie, 50, a Republican who in the days before last year's presidential election enraged some of his own party members after endorsing Democrat President Barack Obama's promise of support for New Jersey's beleaguered communities.

Mr Christie and his aides hope that publicity surrounding Harry's visit will highlight reconstruction efforts and the need for more financial aid from Congress to restore the local economy.

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