"Please Don't Leave Us!" NYers Desperate for Help -- Latest Sandy Updates, What You Can Do
US President Barack Obama (C) speaks after visiting a neighborhood in Brigantine, New Jersey hit by Hurricane Sandy.
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This post has been updated.
Days after the initial devastation from Sandy, the city still lies in danger of a second humanitarian crisis.
Residents of the worst-hit low-lying areas like Staten Island, Breezy Point, Queens (which was devastated by a fire) and Long Beach, are recovering from the shock of losing homes and even loved ones to the storm’s power--but now they’re in danger of not having enough services. And getting those services is complicated because at the moment, a gas and transportation shortage is crippling the city.
Whether it’s residents trapped on the high floors of powerless high-rises or communities stranded by lack of transportation, the test of the next few days will prove whether the worst of the storm was indeed over this weekend the city took care of its own, or the disaster escalated unimaginably.
It’s no wonder that at this crucial juncture residents are getting vocally aggravated that officials are insisting on putting on the annual New York City Marathon, which will divert resources and energy from the clean up efforts. The generators being used for the Marathon alone could power "400 houses on Staten Island," one blogger notes.
Many social media users offered suggestions along these lines:
Instead of a marathon, how about athletes run up stairs of high rises w/no power, carrying 2 gallon jugs of water for each resident?
— Barry Graubart (@graubart) November 2, 2012
Suzanne Reisman had strong words for the mayor in a blog post:
The Marathon is not only a logistical nightmare, but it is a slap in the face to people who live here. It shows that the mayor cares more about tourists and their dollars than the citizens and our long-term contributions to the city. Yes, the Marathon may bring in some dollars, but in the long-term, without a functioning city, we lose so much more. This is actually an immoral race at this point.
Sensing the bad vibes, the New York Road Runners Club has created a "Race to Recover" fund for hurricane victims. And as per the online brainstorming, some Marathon runners are indeed going rogue--they will use the race route to deliver aid and volunteer in areas like Staten Island and Queens.
Stranded in Staten Island
Today, Staten Island is perhaps one of the most vulnerable spots. Called the “epicenter” of casualties from the storm, the island suffered physical destruction wreaked by Sandy that has been followed by despair. Read this passage from the Daily News article on the subject:
Staten Island has been the scene of some of the most heartbreaking storm-related devastation, especially on the South Shore where numerous trapped residents had to be rescued. Hundreds of homes — from multimillion-dollar mansions to modest bungalows — have been damaged and dozens of streets are impassable due to downed trees and buckled roads.
As such, federal and local officials heard an earful from residents Thursday.
“Please don’t leave us,” a weeping Donna Solli pleaded to Sen. Chuck Schumer in front of her damaged Neptune St. home. “I live alone down here.”
Schumer hugged Solli, a Transportation Department worker, and tried to comfort her. “I know what you’re going through, sweetheart,” he said.
Minutes later, Joe and Angela Fugel approached the senior senator with tears in their eyes. Owners of A&J Police Equipment & Uniforms, their 27-year-old store on Cleveland Ave. near Great Kills Harbor is now in ruins.
"Everything's gone — come look please!" she cried out. "I lost everything — my livelihood!"
After showing Schumer the wreckage, she turned to a reporter and said, “We need so much help."