November 13, 2012

Sandy Aftermath worsens in Coney Island and Long Island

Occupy Sandy Volunteer Sounds Alarm on 'Humanitarian Crisis,' Near-Complete Absence of Government Aid in Coney Island Projects

Moed says all of the supermarkets on Coney Island have been flooded or looted.

The result is what Moed describes as a "humanitarian crisis." Sick or older people may be vulnerable to death without heat, or food and water.

Moed routinely meets elderly residents who have been trapped alone in their dark, cold apartments since the storm hit. The elevators often do not work, and residents willing to brave the stairwells face darkness, human waste, and even crime.

"Just three hours ago I was speaking with seniors for whom I was the first person they talked to since the storm," Moed says. "I asked someone if I could use their bathroom and they told me they were going in a bucket. It was a 70-80 year-old woman. And not only do they have to shit in a bucket, they have to bring it down the stairs themselves."

Moed also describes meeting children who had gone several days without food, and a mother who ran out of her asthma medication.

Mormon Volunteers Outperform the Government in New England Sandy Aid

In Milford, Connecticut, for example, where entire expanses of beach homes have been destroyed by the storm, one family member reports to us that FEMA and the Red Cross were nowhere to be seen. What she did see, however, were “dozens of people in yellow vests helping to gather up all the debris that residents were putting out in the road.” Our observer tells us that these individuals assisted homeowners in clean-up, helping to load town trucks to remove destroyed decks, furniture, siding, and other debris.

Recalling that she saw the same group of people “in yellow vests” helping out after Hurricane Irene last year, she later discovered that the helpers were Mormon Helping Hands volunteers.

Toxic mess in hard-hit communities causing serious health effects

The waterfront neighborhoods of Lindenhurst on Long Island have become a toxic wasteland since Hurricane Sandy hit.
Toxic fumes hang in the air, the ground is covered in mud and oil. Homes are gutted and the streets are barely visible; garbage is strewn about.

Jill Vaneck, who lives on Arctic Street, said she has been coughing since the storm hit, and she’s had a constant headache. " I’m concerned over mold, but definitely the oil – it’s everywhere, in the streets, in our homes,” Vaneck said. “The smell of oil has given me a headache every day, and I have this bad cough. So, yes, I’m concerned. I’m worried about the water . . .not only for the plumbing in my house, but there is water all around us. It’s toxic down here.”

Over on Staten Island, residents are concerned about hypothermia, frost bite, dysentery and respiratory infections, said Mike Hoffman, 33, a volunteer relief coordinator in the New Dorp area.

“Volunteers are getting sick, spitting up black mucous, getting respiratory infections – some just after two to three days,” Hoffman said. “Victims have been exposed much longer.”
One resident said, “Is this going to plague us for years to come?”
Posted by Jill Fallon at November 13, 2012 1:54 PM | Permalink