By Jennifer Vardy Little
Cynthia Meek spent the last week glued to her computer, watching news coverage and videos online as hurricane Sandy swept over New Jersey.
Meek couldn’t help but worry – her 85-year-old uncle, Leroy Varga, lives in Dover, New Jersey, one of the areas that fell victim to Sandy’s wrath.
“I get up every morning sick – that’s how I feel, sick,” said the New Minas resident, who last saw her uncle in August, when he visited her in Nova Scotia. “The death rate keeps going up.”
According to news reports, several people were killed in Dover, where her uncle resides. Although Dover is located further inland than the Jersey shore, which was hard hit by the hurricane, the area was badly impacted and has been included in a state of emergency declaration that covered much of the state.
Despite her frantic attempts to contact her uncle, she had no success in the days after the hurricane. Further complicating matters, she said, is that while he’s in good health, he does have a heart condition.
“There was no answer to my phone calls, it just rang and rang, and now it doesn’t even ring,” she said Nov. 2. “He’s not answering e-mails, either, and that’s not just like him…I don’t even know if his house is still standing.”
Desperate, Meek contacted the Dover Police Department, who dispatched an officer to his home to check on Varga.
“Ten minutes later, the officer called me back,” Meek said. “He’s absolutely OK, he has no power and hasn’t been able to communicate, but when you’re this far away, you just don’t know what to do. There should be some kind of system set up for people to check.”