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Island Park Resident Recounts Compounding Hardships In Sandy’s Aftermath

84-Year-Old Rita Chalvien: 'I Don't Know Where My Life Is Anymore'
Rita Chalvien surveys the damage at her Island Park home Nov. 14, 2012 (credit: CBS 2)

Rita Chalvien surveys the damage at her Island Park home Nov. 14, 2012 (credit: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

ISLAND PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — One family on Long Island has faced challenge after challenge in dealing with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

Rita Chalvien, 84, still does not have power restored to her Island Park home, but said that is not the worst of her ordeal.

“I’m still in shock to tell you the truth. I cannot believe this happened,” she told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown on Wednesday.

Her car was crushed by a tree before she could evacuate her home of 43 years and then her house was destroyed by rushing flood waters during Sandy.

Three days after the storm hit, Chalvien’s husband Mark, 86, suffered a heart attack.

“Everything’s gone and my poor husband’s in the hospital,” Chalvien told Brown.

She said she is salvaging what she can from her destroyed home and surviving on strength she didn’t even know she had.

Her daughter and son-in-law have been in from Brooklyn to help her rebuild and recover.

“I’m going to rebuild this place. I have skills. I couldn’t take it apart, I couldn’t do the demo, I didn’t have the heart to rip the house apart, but I’ll be here to put it back together,” Chalvien’s son-in-law, Steve Rayboy, told Brown.

Chalvien said after 16 days of Sandy’s aftermath, she is frustrated like other Long Islanders over the slow power restoration effort.

“I don’t know what to think. I’m so obsessed with my own problems right now I can’t think about anybody else. My husband’s in the hospital, I don’t know where my life is anymore,” she told Brown.

Rayboy said all across Island Park, there are stories of loss and devastation left behind by Sandy.

“These are stories you’re going to hear at every house,” he said.

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