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Staten Islanders On Sandy Response: We’ve Been Left FAR Behind

Borough Is In Shambles, But Little Help Has Arrived; They Ask: Where Is FEMA?
Superstorm Sandy damage on Staten Island

Damage on Staten Island is extensive, but residents say all the attention other parts of NYC and N.J. have received in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy has dwarfed the little help they’ve received. (Photo: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Staten Island residents are furious. They feel that in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy they’ve been ignored and left to fend for themselves.

CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider toured the borough on Thursday night and saw one home on Cedar Grove Avenue that looks like it was torn to shreds by a tornado.

However, it was surging ocean waters that tore the house apart, and filled others with more than 10 feet of water.

It’s that type of apparent neglect that has left residents saying they haven’t received the attention or help they so desperately need.

“Red Cross is here with hot chocolate and cookies. We need blankets, we need pillows, we need clothing. We can get hot chocolate and cookies, we need help!” resident Jodi Hannula said.

It was almost too much for Hannula to bear. She said she had 30 years of memories washed away by flood waters.

And with no flood insurance, she said she’s been pleading for help, but finding little.

“You hope that the government does the right thing and steps in and helps us out. We have been looking for FEMA, [but] FEMA has not been here,” Hannula said.

People on Staten Island argued that they’ve been neglected while other parts of New York City, and the Jersey Shore, have been showered with attention.

“We are far from fine, and the fact that the mayor wants to have a marathon this weekend, when we’ve had people who have lost their lives or house, everything they’ve worked for their whole lives … I mean, its unbelievable to me,” Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis said.

Utility trucks lined up on Staten Island - Nov. 2, 2012 (credit: Laura Cala / WCBS 880)

Utility trucks lined up on Staten Island – Nov. 2, 2012 (credit: Laura Cala / WCBS 880)

Amid the damage there was also death. Of the 37 known fatalities from the storm in the city, 17 were killed on Staten Island.

One of the most tragic stories became nationally known earlier in the day. Two little boys, ages 2 and 4, were swept away by a tidal surge after their mother’s car stalled and she ran for help. Their bodies were discovered in a marsh Thursday.

“It’s total devastation. It’s not just New Dorp Beach. It’s the whole shore from Tottenville to South Beach,” resident Kyle Haberstroh said.

Donna Solli confronted Sen. Charles Schumer on Thursday afternoon, demanding food and more assistance.

Later that night she got a meal — and a promise for more Friday morning.

“Yes, I have food. I haven’t had food in two days and I have food, finally,” Solli said.

Residents were organizing a huge cleanup day on Saturday. They said if no one else is going to help them restore their community — Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano was to visit Staten Island Friday in response to the community’s complaints — they’re going to do it on their own.

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