November 10, 2012

Katrina on the Hudson

Forgotten by FEMA: Staten Island's Sandy Victims vent over lack of aid

Already without power for more than a week in the wake of Sandy, hard-hit residents of the borough's South Shore braved a winter storm Wednesday night, with many -- perhaps hundreds -- huddling in condemned homes and ignoring orders to evacuate out of fear looters would take what little Mother Nature has left them.

"FEMA packed up everything yesterday and left the area," said MaryLou Wong, whose home in the Midland Beach neighborhood was destroyed. "They haven't come back."
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One group of residents, calling themselves the "Brown Cross," is patrolling the devastated streets, armed with walkie-talkies, and helping residents clear debris and pump water from their flooded homes.

“We’ve done more for our community than FEMA, the Red Cross and the National Guard combined, directly hitting houses and people in need,” Frank Recce, the 24-year-old longshoreman and Iraq Army veteran who organized the group, told FoxNews.com.
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Green and yellow placards signify the home is safe to re-enter, but for homes with red placards, the city advises residents to “hire a New York State-licensed professional (Registered Architect or Professional Engineer) to file plans with the department and a hire a contractor to make the necessary repairs.

Hiring an architect was not on the immediate horizon for residents who were simply trying to survive.

11 days without power, Sandy victims want answers

On Friday LIPA reported 163,029 customers in Nassau and Suffolk Counties and the Rockaway Peninsula were still without power. That figure includes thousands who had lost power in this week's nor'easter, many of whom have had service restored. Families, the elderly and the disabled have no heat or electricity.
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"It's a nightmare, and I'm just living each minute. We don't know what's gonna happen the next minute," Schwartz said.

Homeowner Richard Feldman called the recovery effort a failure. "There are tens of thousands of people out there, like me, with no home," Feldman said.

Disaster doesn't protect against the bitter cold

Brian Sotelo is a man who finally has reached his breaking point.

Anger drips from every word as he peers at the tops of white tents rising over the trees in the distance. The depth of despair in his eyes is difficult to fathom.
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The Seaside Heights, N.J., resident was at a Toms River, N.J., arena with his wife and three kids a half hour before the shelter opened as superstore Sandy approached last week. On Wednesday, Sotelo was part of a contingent shifted to this makeshift tent city in a parking lot across the road from a racetrack about 30 miles north.

"Sitting there last night you could see your breath," Sotelo said. Outside temperatures hovered below freezing, in the upper 20s and low 30s. "At (the arena) the Red Cross made an announcement that they were sending us to permanent structures up here that had just been redone, that had washing machines and hot showers and steady electric, and they sent us to tent city. We got (expletive).
Posted by Jill Fallon at November 10, 2012 8:13 AM | Permalink