News / USA

Superstorm Recovery Slow, Difficult

The view of storm damage over the Atlantic Coast in Seaside Heights, N.J.,  Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, from a helicopter traveling behind the helicopter carrying President Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
The view of storm damage over the Atlantic Coast in Seaside Heights, N.J., Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, from a helicopter traveling behind the helicopter carrying President Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Margaret Besheer
— Cleanup and recovery from superstorm Sandy intensified Wednesday as New York City's buses and airports began to operate, the stock exchange reopened for trading, and curtains rose at Broadway theaters. Monday's storm ravaged the northeastern United States, killing dozens of people and causing billions of dollars in damage. Many people will still be feeling Sandy's effects for some time to come.

Along Van Brunt Street in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood, the hum of generators can be heard as dozens of small business owners pump out the water Sandy's storm surge deposited in their waterfront buildings.

Related video report by Jerome Socolovsky
New York Faces Daunting Recovery Effort After Hurricane Sandyi
|| 0:00:00
X
Jerome Socolovsky
October 31, 2012 10:31 PM
Life is slowly returning to normal, after an epic storm left swaths of the eastern United States under water and killed dozens of people. Nowhere is the recovery more daunting than in New York City, where crews are struggling to pump out subway tunnels and restore power to parts of lower Manhattan. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
John Hernandez, the owner of Bell Star Tower, a heating and air conditioning company, says the storm wiped out his ground floor office.

“All the computers, all the cabinets, all the files -- just washed away.  We had five feet [about 1.5 meters] of water.  See, this was the water line right here,” Hernandez said.
 
Hernandez points to the front door, where the waterline is above the doorknob.  He says his five employees cannot make it in to help clean up or continue projects for customers because there is little public transportation.  Hernandez says the damage and the inability to keep working has hit his small company hard.

“So no workers, no work, no income,” Hernandez said.

Across the street, Robert Lopez and his wife, Irene, opened Bomba Billiards 10 months ago.  But after Sandy wreaked havoc on the small uninsured bar, they might have to close permanently.

“We're hoping that whatever federal government money is given to us, if any, will help us to get back into business.  If not, I got no choice but to close because I don't have the necessary funds to get myself back up,” Lopez said.

A visibly heartbroken Lopez says it will take at least $50,000 to replace the machines, pool tables and liquor stocks that were destroyed by the wave of water that came through this area on Monday night.

“We put our life savings into this place and it's all gone.  It's all gone,” Lopez said.

During a visit to hardest-hit New Jersey on Wednesday, President Barack Obama said of people like John Hernandez and Robert Lopez that the government would do all it can to help them recover.

“We are here for you.  And we will not forget, we will follow up to make sure that you get all the help that you need until you've rebuilt,” Obama said.

New Yorkers had some good news on Wednesday.  The governor announced that 14 of the city's 23 subway lines would resume some service on Thursday.  Buses are already ferrying people around the city's five boroughs, and commuter rail systems are slowly coming back online.

But at the Lillian Wald housing project on Manhattan's Lower East Side, residents are still without power and water.  Two sidewalk fire hydrants had been opened and residents are gathering water to use for drinking, cooking and flushing their toilets.

James and his friend, Louie, were among those collecting water, which they had to carry up several flights of stairs.  James says things become frightening at night when the area goes dark.

“But it's real, real scary right now, real, real scary -- especially when it gets dark.  You have people try to open doors on you,” James said.

Because of security issues, many area businesses are closed.  Only a few delicatessens have reopened and only for a few hours.  Owners say it is too dangerous to remain open after dark.

October 31 is Halloween in the United States.  Traditionally, children wear scary costumes and go house-to-house asking for candy.  In New Jersey, the governor said the holiday would be postponed until November 5 to allow time for streets to be cleared of debris and power lines, making it safer for children.  In Manhattan, the famous Greenwich Village Halloween Parade was postponed, but many children were out because they say they refused to let Sandy ruin their fun.

You May Like

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
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.

AppleAndroid