News / USA

In Hurricane-Damaged Brooklyn, Volunteers Come to Help

In Hurricane-Damaged Brooklyn, Volunteers Come to Helpi
|| 0:00:00
X
Carolyn Weaver
November 04, 2012 4:28 PM
Hurricane Sandy hit hard in New York’s coastal neighborhoods, including Brighton Beach, Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver reports on volunteer efforts there. Carolyn Weaver Brooklyn, New York

In Hurricane-Damaged Brooklyn, Volunteers Come to Help

Carolyn Weaver
— Hurricane Sandy hit hard in New York's coastal neighborhoods, including Brighton Beach, Coney Island and Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. A volunteer effort, Clean Up Sheepshead Bay, drew people from the borough and beyond who wanted to help. Daniel Rudoy, who lives in Sheepshead Bay, organized those who turned out on a bright, bitter morning.

“We'll be going to shelters, business owners, homeowners,” he told the first to arrive. “If there's more people here than we actually need, we're just going to go up and down the block and just offer help to anybody who might need it.”

The volunteers headed off, most to help at the Warbasse Houses, five high-rise apartment buildings that are home to about 6,000 people, including many elderly Russian immigrants.

Warbasse general property manager Thomas Auletti said about half the residents refused to leave before the storm, despite the city’s evacuation order. He estimated that more than a third are still there, living without elevator service, heat, power or water.

According to Auletti, the only help to arrive thus far has been local. “I need security,” he said angrily. “I've been asking for the National Guard since Tuesday, I've been told they are coming; they're not here. I've been unable to get Red Cross or FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] help. I've been asking, I put calls in - [and] no assistance,” Auletti said.

“The situation went from bad to worse, it's getting cold out there,” an organizer told the crowd. “A lot of people are unable to come down themselves. We don't know when that's going to happen.”

Volunteers received a hasty briefing and were sent in small groups to offer help to remaining residents on all 23 floors of each building. They climbed stairwells and knocked on doors in halls that were pitch-black and largely silent.

“There's got to be somebody here.  Who is that?  Do you need some help?” called out Anna Lederman, one in a group of three young women who spoke Russian. Residents in two apartments on the 15th floor thanked them, but said they would remain for now.

Lederman, a nurse, said she felt an obligation to contribute her time and energy to those in damaged neighborhoods, though she doesn't live nearby.

“I decided to come out here because I think, as young people, it is our duty, and we should walk up these stairs and find out what is needed. I would want the same done for me, I think, if I was in this situation,” she said.

On the 16th floor, Liana Nass, a Russian-born music teacher, invited the volunteers in. She said that a back problem made it difficult for her to walk up and down the stairs, and that she and her husband still preferred to remain in their apartment. They had nowhere else to go, she said, and they had enough food and water and blankets. But trying to study English at night by candlelight was difficult, she conceded.

Auletti and other organizers predicted that power and water in the buildings will not be restored for at least a week. They said that as temperatures drop and a possible new storm threatens New York, emergency aid and shelters must be in place for residents who choose to leave.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid