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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults 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.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid