News: Hope for Long Beach, NY residents affected by Hurricane Sandy
Story by Staff Sgt. Osvaldo Equite
FORT HAMILTON, N.Y. – Volunteers, local agencies, and members of FEMA, provide a source of hope to Long Beach, N.Y., residents in the wake of Hurricane Sandy Nov. 6, 2012.
Many of those affected by the storm crowded the City of Long Beach Ice Arena as volunteers supplied blankets, clothing, food and water.
Although the storm had passed, some of the survivors were having difficulties overcoming what they experienced during the storm.
“Water was everywhere!” recalls Silvia Nino, a Long Beach, N.Y., native.
Nino, along with other residents, was advised to evacuate her home, but she explained that her family decided not to evacuate since last year’s hurricane didn’t affect them.
“I’m five-four and water got up to 4 feet, the whole basement was flooded,” she said.
Now, having been without power for nine days, Nino and her family have run out of supplies and found the FEMA aid distribution center.
Currently, FEMA, according to their website, has more than 5,100 personnel working alongside local government agencies providing disaster support and recovery operations throughout the areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
Priscilla Romero, a Long Beach, N.Y., native, recalls how overwhelmed she felt when helped arrived less than a day after the storm had passed.
“I’m impressed to see – I mean, everybody,” she explained, referring to FEMA, local law enforcement, soldiers, and utility workers she saw after the storm devastated homes and infrastructure throughout the city.
Nevertheless, all this couldn’t be done without the collective effort of local and out of state volunteers.
“It’s unbelievable how people are pulling together,” said Mary Keissinger, a Long Beach, N.Y., native and FEMA volunteer.
“There’s a great sense of camaraderie. Nobody is complaining and everybody is pulling together, she said.
Keissinger lives in a third floor apartment and was mostly unaffected by the storm but felt obligated to help those who were, she added.
According to estimates, Hurricane Sandy has caused more than $20 billion in property damage and cut power to more than 8 million homes.
Like Nino and Romero, many of the residents are thankful for the hundreds of volunteers at the arena.
“I’m very thankful for what they are doing,” said Nino. She believes God will bless them billions of times more.
With lines extending to the parking lot, Long Beach natives can rest assured that FEMA and hundred of volunteers will continue to provide support until a sense of normalcy has been restored.