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Road To Recovery On Staten Island May Take Months, Maybe Years

Task Now Is To Fix What Took Years To Create And Just Seconds To Destroy
Staten Island Sandy recovery

Many Staten Island residents impacted by Superstorm Sandy know they may not be able to return to their homes for months, or perhaps years, if at all. (Photo: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For residents in hard hit Staten Island, reality was still setting in Tuesday night, two weeks after Superstorm Sandy treated the Tri-State area like an outgunned sparring partner.

It could take months, if not years, to rebuild the devastated areas, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported.

Two weeks after the waters receded the electricity was still spotty. Too many soaked circuits had not been inspected.

Too many residents were still living like nomads.

“Living in my car and on the road. Just like I was saying, traveling back and forth to Brooklyn because it’s been too cold to stay in the house,” Midland Beach resident Joseph Amorello said.

The scene Tuesday night was a snapshot of New York City two weeks after the storm: Hot meals under emergency lights, still darkened streets, and fractured neighborhoods just beginning to measure the task ahead.

“The community set up these stands and people just came out of the blue and randomly dropped stuff,” Lucille Mack said.

“This process is from 18 months to two years minimum to rebuild this area. This is a disaster,” Staten Island resident Amon Jouseff told CBS 2’s Lou Young.

There’s a sense that the storm was just a beginning.

“This is the hardest part because now they have to re-build, so it’s starting from scratch,” Midland Beach resident Kirsten Wakie said.

A few homes have electricity, but even so, one man told Young it’ll be three months before he can move back in.

Another woman took her modest home down to the studs. She said she nearly drowned in the flood and now carries her possessions in bags still reviewing her decision not to evacuate.

“Last storm we evacuated and it wasn’t so bad, so shoulda, coulda, woulda. [I’m] lucky to be alive,” resident Patricia Sullivan said.

Others wandered into relief centers from heatless homes, picking up donated supplies — the simple things we take for granted.

“It’s cold. We have gas, though, no hot water,” Camila Mazitova said.

Electricians need to certify the flooded power systems before they can be hooked up. At two weeks in, progress is painfully slow. Young asked a local pastor if the end here is even in sight.

“Oh no, no, no, no.  This is only the beginning.  This is triage,” Rev. Tim Mercaldo of Gateway Church said.

At Oasis Church, the sanctuary had become a supply center — a place for the victims to pick up the little necessities we all take for granted. It was expected to remain like that for weeks to come.

“We’re going on faith that we’ll be back in this building as a house of worship by Christmas,” Wakie said.

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