The Incalculable Loss President Biden will Encounter in Manville

Daphnne Francisca Lopez del Bono

MANVILLE – President Joe Biden will come to a historically blue collar town on Tuesday that has a history of toughness in the face of flooding, the hazards of the workplace, and environmental injustice, where one of the victims this time is a young and courageous woman who had extraordinary promise.

Manville has suffered the ravages of flooding for decades.

Entire portions of the town sit under water in the aftermath of high impact storms.

It’s always been a hard place, and a place of heart.

Site of the former Johns Mansville Asbestos Plant (1912-1986), Manville claimed the lives of many workers over the years from asbestosis. A lot of the people who died in Manville came from families who had migrated east from coal country in Pennsylvania to try to find better lives out of the mines.

They found the Johns Manville Plant.

In 2014, a judge in New Brunswick awarded 11 families from Manville more than $90 million for their pain and suffering caused by losing loved ones to an asbestos-related cancer.

From Levy Kongsberg:

“…the effects of the asbestos pollution are still being felt today. LK asbestos attorneys, led by New Jersey asbestos lawyer Moshe Maimon, are dedicated to making sure that victims of Manville asbestos exposure, regardless of their occupation and status, receive justice for their suffering and loss.”

Other hazards worsened the lives of the people here.

The east side of town imperiled an entire neighborhood of homeowners and their families who didn’t know their homes stood on the site of a former creosote factory, where lagoons contaminated their drinking water.

A community had become, overnight, a Superfund site.

The floods continue to do damage, in part the consequence of massive impervious surface development at the edge of environmentally sensitive wetlands.

Last Wednesday, as Hurricane Ida pounded Somerset County, at least two people died in the area of Manville.

Property damage here?

You bet.

The town looks like it was hit by a bomb.

The precious belongings of whole lifetimes pile up on the sidewalks in front of flood-wrecked homes and businesses.

One iconic building literally exploded.

Following the storm on Wednesday, the Hillsborough Police Department identified the two area fatalities from separate incidents: Cheryl Talke, 61, of Belle Mead, and Daphnne Francisca Lopez Del Bono, 30 (pictured), a resident of Santiago Chile, who was residing in Ringoes, according to

Ms. Lopez Del Bono died a short distance south of the Manville town limit.

She was driving on Amwell Road in Hillsborough, which abuts Manville.

She was a beloved daughter whose example as a student gave particular heart to the young Chilean women of this area seeking better lives in the United States.

From the Uceda Institute of New Brunswick:

“We are saddened to announce the passing of Daphnne Francisca Lopez del Bono.
“Daphnne joined our school on March 1st, 2021. In this short time, she met several students, teachers, and staff in New Brunswick, making new friends along the way.
“On behalf of Uceda International and Uceda Institute, we started [a] fund to assist Daphne Lopez’s family in the funeral and transport costs.
“Daphne was an international student of ours from Chile and tragically died in the flood on September 1, 2021.
“Please help us help her family by contributing to this fund. The funds will be used to repatriate Daphne’s body back to Chile.”
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