HURRICANE SANDY ended the American dream for Dundalk woman Kerry Ward as her Broad Channel home was submerged by the record waves when the post-tropical storm hit New York last week.
' They've lost everything,' says her mother Marie Finnegan, Aghameen Park, who has only been able to keep in touch by text messages since the storm cut power to thousands of homes across New York.
Kerry, her NYPD husband Rob and young daughters Rachel and Chloe, heeded the warnings to evacuate their waterfront home on Broad Channel and went to stay with her sister Eileen Price on Long Island.
' They left as the storm started to blow up,' says Marie. ' Eileen's house is further inland but they've had no power since Monday last when the hurricane hit and I've only been able to text them.'
Board Channel is an island in the Bay of Jamaica connected to Queens by bridges. It was evacutated during Hurricane Irene but then only two homes were damaged by the floodwaters. This time the whole community has been devastated.
'Kerry went back there to see the damage,' says Marie. 'All their belongings were piled outside their home and bull-dozed down the street. People were crying as they saw all their belongings lost. It's terrible for them - poor Kerry has lost everything.'
'It's very hard for me to get information about what it's like for them as they have no power and all the phonelines are down,' continues Marie, who is anxiously waiting news about her family.
'Kerry, her husband and children are staying with Eileen and her family, and my son Stephen is there as well.
' They've been told that it could be November 10th before they have power again. It's very cold and they have no heating, can't cook or shower.'
Marie was a regular visitor to New York where her two daughters are married to NYPD officers. ' Kerry and Rob got married eight years ago and this is the second house they bought - they are not in it that long.'
Like the other waterfront homes, their house was raised up as the area is prone to flooding but nothing had prepared them for the devastation wrecked by Sandy.
The family had booked flights to Ireland for Christmas and Marie hopes that they will still come home.