NEW JERSEY - For thousands of people across New Jersey, the monumental cleanup from Hurricane Ida is only just beginning.
Michael Rosania says he’s lucky to be alive two days after the remnants of Hurricane Ida destroyed his home.
"At about ten o'clock, eleven o'clock at night, I knew it was going to get pretty bad. Eventually, I got rescued by boat at around 3:30 a.m.," he recalled.
In Millburn, roads remain closed due to flooding. Small businesses, completely inundated by water, were seen tossing garbage bags full of unsalvageable belongings to the curb.
For many storefronts like the Millburn Deli, even freestanding flood barriers were no match for Ida’s wrath.
"The force of the water, I think, the wall blocked, but once the water crested over the wall, all three of our basements flooded," owner Andrew Morgan says.
Amid the receding flood waters is a rising death toll. Governor Phil Murphy, who toured the damage across Essex and Union counties, reported an additional two fatalities, bringing the total number of Ida-related deaths in New Jersey to 25.
"I have spoken with both President Biden and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell to request emergency funding. In fact, we have already received the first step in that, which is the emergency declaration," Murphy explained at a press conference.
The governor also announced a plan to get $10M in grants to small businesses impacted by the storm.
For homeowners like Rosania, though, there’s a long road to recovery ahead.
"We’re going to need some help. A lot of us have flood insurance; some of us don’t. This is the type of stuff you don’t want to happen, but unfortunately, it does," he adds.