Last Saturday, we went out to the Rockaways in Queens, NY to see how they are faring in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The area was one of the hardest in the storm and the situation remains bleak. Residents we spoke to said power, gas, and heat remained out for many. Though LIPA estimates it may return power to the remaining 80,000 residents without power on Tuesday.
Nights are cold and dangerous. One man, a veteran who was formerly homeless, told us that some people in his apartment complex were setting off fire alarms to get residents to allow them inside so they could rob them.
While FEMA and Red Cross as well as a handful of corporations including, LIPA, Chase, and Allstate Insurance are on hand, Occupy Wall Street has also set up a strong operation under the guise Occupy Sandy.
As we followed one person through the day, they sought out the essentials. Basic food items for the next meal, water, a mask to help avoid breathing in the noxious air in many areas, and medicine he needed.
We stopped at a FEMA centre and went past the devastated boardwalk and a ruined main street.
Buildings have been totally destroyed. One drug rehabilitation home had to be evacuated to a nearby area after the first two floors were flooded during the storm.
Wreckage blocks many roads and construction workers are still having a difficult time getting around. Streets are still being cleared of sand and rubble.
Many community members have come together to provide food. Kenny Peña, the owner of Suncycle Studios was cooking hot dogs. He turned his store into a donation centre. After draining the water and sand.
Some business owners we spoke with said they wouldn’t be reopening, the damage was too severe.
Residents were also mixed about whether they would stay.
And everyone told us we better leave before it got dark.
The situation is grim and until basic necessities like power and gas are restored it is looking to get worse.
If you live or own a business in any affected area in New York or New Jersey and would like to share your story about the storm, relief, and the recovery process including the insurance and aid process please contact the reporter at: [email protected]
Traffic getting into the area is intense. The road is filled with volunteers and large trucks. Many from out of state, we saw Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Virginia plates among others.
Nearby is the FEMA centre. It had long lines and a number of people we spoke to had been waiting for up to two hours.
This home for recent parolees was flooded and many have left. Some remain but said they are not sure what is going to happen to the home.
On Beach St. Kenny Peña, the owner of Suncycle Studios, cooks hot dogs and hamburgers for neighbours.
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