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Frustrated Residents Of Belle Harbor Band Together In Relief Effort

Resident: 'We Are Living In Third-World Conditions'
Destroyed House In Belle Harbor (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

Destroyed House In Belle Harbor (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Help has been pouring in to Belle Harbor in the relief and recovery effort following Superstorm Sandy.

Some residents lost everything they had in the storm. Homes were collapsed or washed away and the beach remains a mess, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported Tuesday.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports

“I know we weren’t supposed to be staying, but we stayed and we were up to our necks in water trying to get our belongings out when the ocean came through and it broke down the back door,” retired FDNY firefighter Joe Hutton told Diamond.

“Now everybody is helping each other and trying to pick up the pieces of getting this community back to where it was, and even better, hopefully,” Hutton said.

Other residents, frustrated that help was not coming in quickly enough, decided they needed to help themselves.

“We are living in third-world conditions,” one resident told Diamond.

The community has set up a command center in St. Francis de Sales Church.

“These are local neighborhood people. That’s how still disorganized and chaotic this place is,” the woman added.

But the grassroots relief effort has restored some residents’ faith in humanity.

“I think the community coming together, meaning all New Yorkers, has been unbelievable. And I will tell you, [the Department of] Sanitation has been, wow. They’ve been fabulous,” a Belle Harbor resident told Diamond.

LISTEN: Marla Diamond’s Interview With Chelsea Clinton In Belle Harbor

One New Yorker who came to help out in Belle Harbor on Tuesday was former first daughter Chelsea Clinton.

“I voted this morning and then as a New Yorker I just thought what better way to spend Election Day than trying to help New Yorkers have what I would hope we all would want our government to provide for all of us, which is not only the basic necessities but a feeling of support and community and what’s happening here is remarkable,” Chelsea Clinton told Diamond.

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