More residents and property owners along New Jersey's barrier islands in Ocean County were allowed to return to their homes two weeks since Sandy hit, and what they found, was utter devastation.

Mario Tama, Getty Images

Flooded homes, wrecked furniture, pictures scattered everywhere, muddy, wet floors.

Those are some of the things that greeted residents in Ortley Beach and Lavallette as they were allowed to see their homes for the first time since the storm.

"Awful, it just looks like bombs went off everywhere, everyone's got all their personal belongings piled in the street, its devastating," said Loretta from Ortley Beach.

"The ocean was in her condo, I mean this was her life, she's 71 years old next week and everything is gone, I just feel so bad for my mother," said Dina, through tears, as she talked about her mother's loss as well as her own. "My place is gone too, we are both homeless, I am staying with friends in Virginia, it's terrible."

"The mud was all over the house, my washer and dryer were flipped over, furniture ruined, and the smell, you just don't even know what you're walking through, people were hugging each other and crying, it was just the saddest scene," said another resident.

Residents boarded school buses in the morning and were allowed a few hours on the island to clean up and gather their belongings, each allowed a small bag or suitcase to bring back. Many left those bags nearly as empty as they were when they first arrived.

"I grabbed some clothes, not much," said Fran, an Ortley Beach resident.

"I got an old picture that my mother-in-law gave me, but nothing else was salvageable," said Gary from Lavallette.

"It's all gone, everything, everything is ruined," said Dina.

Still, some held out hope of rebuilding.

"People are strong and resilient and we will hang in there and rebuild this together."


Video by Stacy Proebstle