December 4, 2012

Sandy aftermath: cold, sick, living without power and FEMA trailers sit unused 145 miles away

Cold, mold loom as hazards in Sandy disaster zones

City officials estimate at least 12,000 New Yorkers are trying to survive in unheated, flood-damaged homes, despite warnings that dropping temperatures could pose a health risk. Many families have returned to coastal homes contaminated with mold or filled with construction dust.

Workers who are sent into mold-infested, storm-damaged basements lack proper equipment, gear or training

The Housing Authority first asked its union partners to help with the cleaning — but union officials refused, citing the lack of training or protective clothing. So the city hired Belchor, an outside company, to do the work.

Sandy Cough Plagues Homeowners Cleaning Up

"Every morning I wake up coughing," says one Staten Island homeowner


Flailing FEMA
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Dozens of residents are still living without heat, hot water, or electricity in condemned structures flooded by both sea and sewer water in the Gerritsen Beach community of Brooklyn after a request to FEMA for temporary housing after Hurricane Sandy was denied.

“We need structures and housing. It is truly desperate,” said Jameson Wells, executive assistant to the director of GB Cares Sandy Relief, a volunteer relief organization. FEMA has said they did not have appropriate trailers.

However, around 92 FEMA trailers are sitting idle and unused 145 miles away in Pennsylvania, the Free Beacon has found…. All of the units are equipped with heat pumps.

The Reward For Surviving Hurricane Sandy May Be Higher Taxes

The math is simple and cruel. The storm left fewer properties standing, often wrecking waterfront communities that paid the highest taxes because of the desirability of living near the water.
Unless shore towns from Rhode Island to New Jersey get a big influx of aid from the state and federal governments, which are themselves strapped for cash, they will have no choice but to raise taxes on homes and businesses that survived to make up for the loss.

Why  Kafka Would Like FEMA

Yesterday I spoke to, let’s see, eight, maybe nine different FEMA agents. Each one was there to help. Each was polite, sympathetic. Oodles of sympathy. Almost all had a form for me to fill out, a web site to visit. Each of the long, long line of people who came to see these agents went away with forms to fill out, web sites to visit…

All the agents were huddled in a suite of offices down a long corridor inside Town Hall. There was the Cerberus outside the sanctum sanctorum that made sure you had “registered with FEMA.” That done, he provided you with a routing slip that detailed the services you might be eligible for. Then you sat for an hour or two, as if you were a patient at an NHS facility in Britain, or an Obamacare facility in America in the near future. You then talked to one nice person after the next. There was this form, and that form, and a web site you could visit, and handbook you could read. At one stop I was given, for free!, a longish pamphlet explaining what I could do to make my property less liable to flood damage: “Mitigation Ideas For Reducing Flood Loss” it said on its cover. After a flood, it told me, a house needs to be dried out and cleaned. “Move things you want to save to a safe dry place.” Noted. “The longer they sit in water, the more damaged they become.” I was glad to know that.
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I used to think that Franz Kafka exaggerated things. I see now that he was not so much a novelist or fantasist as he was a documentary artist.
Posted by Jill Fallon at December 4, 2012 10:11 AM | Permalink