Coney Island Residents Complain There’s Not Enough Help, As FEMA Sets Up Shop
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Residents of Coney Island have voiced their frustrations with what they say is a delayed recovery effort following Sandy.
“Nobody’s coming to check on nobody…we’re just here,” one angry resident told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman. “We’ve got senior citizens on respirators, nobody’s coming to check on these people.”
One man said he’s been sleeping in his car to stay warm because the power remains out across the community.
“Absolutely no stores in the entire Coney Island community,” the man said.
The owner of what used to be a small grocery on Surf Avenue said he is not concerned about rebuilding right now.
“Dog food, cat food, soups all that. Whoever was passing by I was was like, ‘if anybody needs food, take,'” he told Silverman.
WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports from Coney Island
Residents said people have been fighting over food at relief areas.
“As you see, a lot of looting happened over here, a lot of crimes have happened,” a resident said.
“They say they’re giving out food. Where? Where are they at?” asked another fed-up Coney Islander.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is helping out residents in a hard-hit area of Brooklyn.
Coney Island’s famous beach and boardwalk disappeared under the surge during superstorm Sandy and the sand was spread around the neighborhood.
Homes and businesses suffered extensive flood damage and power remains out in the area, 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported.
1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reports from Coney Island
“I have a three-floor single family home, the first floor was completely ruined by the flood,” homeowner Jose Ramos said. “My dining room table was soaked and is damaged, the chairs are damaged, when the water subsided it left a couple of inches of mud, I have wood flooring that’s gone.”
The New York Aquarium also sustained damage in the storm. Crews are continuing to pump water out of the areas which house crucial operating systems. The aquarium has been able to restore power to two of its main exhibit buildings but continues to run on generator power in other areas.
The aquarium lost some fishes but its star residents are safe.
“They have been brought to other locations to be there for a while until they’re able to return to their homes at the aquarium,” Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said. “They were all saved.
FEMA has set up a mobile office at MCU Park — the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones — where program specialists are helping residents and business owners register for disaster assistance.
WCBS 880’s Ginny Kosola On The Story
“There are program specialists here that can answer people’s questions, put them in the right direction and get them back on the road to recovery,” said FEMA spokesman Ken Higginbotham. “We’re not here to make them whole again or in pre-disaster condition; the operative word here is emergency.”
An inspector will then be sent to review the damage, but Higginbotham is warning residents to beware of imposters who might ask for an inspection fee.
“We’ve had that already,” Higginbotham said, adding that inspectors always carry federal identification badges. “We highly suggest that they ask for those badges when they show up.”
Residents can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or call 800-621-3362.