FEMA Closes Doors as Sandy Victims Continue to Suffer
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, there have been heartwarming stories of goodwill and generosity among fellow citizens. Many areas of NY and NJ devastated by the storm are still without power, and with Wednesday’s snowstorm, their struggles to fight off the cold have only been compounded.
For most victims, their only saving grace has been the outreach from neighbors, friends, volunteers, and some private businesses that have stepped in to provide basic necessities and support. As the recovery process stretches on, the scrutiny over the government’s response continues to increase.
On Wednesday morning, reports indicated that local FEMA offices shut down due to the coming Nor’easter, which has since dumped between four and ten inches of snow on Sandy-ravaged areas.
FEMA disaster recovery centers in Hurricane Sandy-ravaged sections of the city that were supposed to provide assistance to hurricane victims went MIA Wednesday morning, posting signs saying that they were closed due to the approaching Nor'easter.
The temporary shuttering of the facilities, which help victims register for disaster relief, as well as city food distribution centers come even as many of those still reeling from the monster storm were not told that they had to leave the battered areas.
On Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that residents in the low-lying portions of Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn were advised to leave ahead of the nor'easter, which could hit the city with 60 mph gusts and several inches of rain Wednesday afternoon, but that the evacuation was not mandatory like the one issued for all of Zone A ahead of Sandy.
“We do not believe that it’s necessary to evacuate people,” said the mayor Wednesday.
The move left residents of the storm-ravaged areas fuming.
In NJ, the recent provisions for gas rationing continue to present challenges to residents, with long lines and short supply remaining issues. While regional shelters have been established in some areas, many victims report that they are unable to reach supplies and food; they say the aid needs to be brought to their locations.
Lack of power also persists as a prominent concern, as more than several hundred thousand homes in the state remain in the dark as of this writing. No clear estimated restoration date has been communicated to those who still desperately await power while enduring the freezing cold temperatures.
Victims are losing patience, and our readers have seen the footage of desperate residents begging for help as they express feelings that they’ve been abandoned. All are complimentary of the first responders and volunteers who have come into their communities to assist, and some in the most exposed areas say that local and federal agencies have been somewhat responsive. However, others describe a less positive experience with the response from government.
This reporter has communicated with individuals who have since applied for FEMA assistance, several of whom complain that they have been unable to contact the agency and have not heard anything in response. After ten days, my own parents still remain without power and heat. Similar reports and tips continue to come in to Breitbart News. The overwhelming majority of victims in NJ indicate that it is the help of fellow citizens that sustains them. Unfortunately for some, their needs are beyond the capabilities of such assistance.
While there is significant positive media coverage of the bipartisan efforts of politicians to provide assistance to victims, there seems to be little coverage of the mounting deficiencies.
Breitbart News will continue to cover ongoing developments in the response to Hurricane Sandy victims.