Satellite photo of Hurricane Sandy as it merged with an east coast cold front on Oct 29, 2012.
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Gov. Chris Christie says he understands victims' frustrations a year after Superstorm Sandy slammed into the New Jersey coast. But he maintains his administration isn't to blame for delays in aid reaching victims.
Christie notes in an interview with The Associated Press that it took Congress three months to approve a $51 billion relief package for Sandy victims.
He says victims waiting for aid are mired in red tape put in place to prevent the type of fraud that occurred after Hurricane Katrina.
While he agrees some increased oversight was necessary, Christie says a different approach could have saved time.
The biggest homeowner grant program has not made any payouts despite its $600 million allocation, though 100 applications have been approved.
Superstorm Sandy flooded or dropped snow on much of the eastern U.S. on Oct. 29, 2012, becoming the nation's second-most expensive weather disaster at $65 billion and killing at least 182 people after claiming dozens of other lives in the Caribbean. New Jersey and New York were hardest hit, but a large swath of states was affected. A look at Sandy's effects and the status of recovery:
DAMAGE AND RECOVERY: The surge along Long Island Sound destroyed homes and businesses in areas including Fairfield and toppled trees and power lines. More than 600,000 customers lost power. Federal assistance, loans and insurance claims worth more than $280 million have been paid out.
DAMAGE AND RECOVERY: Delaware was spared the worst of the storm surge, but heavy rains fell. More than $2 million in federal funding has been awarded for recovery.
DAMAGE AND RECOVERY: Flooding swamped areas along the shore, while heavy snow fell in western Maryland. Almost 13 inches of rain was recorded on the Eastern Shore, and nearly 300,000 homes and businesses lost power. As recently as January, Baltimore County was added to a federal disaster declaration, allowing assistance to be sought there.
DAMAGE: The storm caused strong winds and heavy surf and cut power to more than 300,000 homes and businesses.
DAMAGE: High winds and rain led politicians to cancel campaign visits to the swing state in the days before the presidential election. Nearly 180,000 homes and business lost power.
DAMAGE AND RECOVERY: Sandy's center made landfall at Brigantine, near Atlantic City, at 7:30 p.m. The worst of the surge hit much of the tourist-heavy Jersey shore, destroying boardwalks and plunging a roller coaster into the ocean from its pier in one of the storm's most iconic images. More than $5.6 billion in federal assistance has been paid. Many homeowners must choose between hugely expensive insurance premiums or paying to elevate their houses. A fire linked to damage from Sandy destroyed a boardwalk business area in touristy Seaside Park and Seaside Heights in September.
DEATHS: 68, including 44 in New York City
DAMAGE AND RECOVERY: More than 2 million homes and businesses lost power, including big chunks of New York City. The storm's surge peaked at nearly 14 feet, Staten Island was hard hit, and a shorefront community on the Rockaway peninsula in Queens burned. Parts of Long Island were also swamped. The city subway is mostly up and running after several tunnels flooded, though some repairs and preparations for future disasters remain. More than $8 billion has been approved in state and federal assistance to homeowners, renters, businesses, government agencies and nonprofits.
DAMAGE: The HMS Bounty, a replica of the 18th-century ship, sank during rough seas off North Carolina, killing one member of the crew and leaving the captain missing and presumed dead.
DEATHS: None. Two deaths originally blamed on the storm were later declared unrelated by Ohio emergency officials.
DAMAGE: Strong winds, rain and snow slammed the Cleveland area, created large waves on Lake Erie, and caused more than 250,000 homes and businesses to lose power.
DAMAGE AND RECOVERY: Wind and flooding closed dozens of bridges and roads as the center of the dissipating storm traveled across the state. More than $3.8 million in federal and state funding has been paid.
DAMAGE AND RECOVERY: Low-lying and coastal communities evacuated as the surge inundated areas including Westerly. In one of its biggest tests, Providence's hurricane barrier at the head of Narragansett Bay protected the city. More than 120,000 homes and businesses lost power. More than $39 million has been paid in federal support.
DAMAGE AND RECOVERY: High winds and snow cut power to more than 130,000 homes and businesses. Utilities brought in crews to help restore power after high winds and snow. Twenty-six counties are eligible for public assistance.
DAMAGE: The federal government closed for a time, along with the city's subway system, courts and public schools.
DAMAGE AND RECOVERY: As much as 3 feet of snow fell, and 270,000 homes and businesses lost power. More than $1 million in federal assistance has been awarded to state and local governments for debris cleanup, repairs and other needs.
DAMAGE: High winds damaged power lines in Ontario. The maritime provinces along the eastern coast saw high winds and rain.
DEATHS: 72, including 54 in Haiti and 11 in Cuba
DAMAGE: More than $3.5 billion, mostly to crops. Deaths and damage from Sandy in most places in the Caribbean fell far below those from earlier storms, including 2011's Irene.
SOURCES: Local, state and national emergency management agencies, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Hurricane Center