Thursday, November 1, 2012
Things getting heated in Broad Channel
From the Village Voice:
Two days after Hurricane Sandy, the situation in the storm-stricken Rockaways and other southern Queens neighborhoods is getting worse in terms of the need for basic supplies and aid. Anger is growing that the government relief agencies have been slow to deal with the problems.
Tonight, in Broad Channel, a sliver of land on Jamaica Bay which was hammered by the hurricane, there was a near riot when 280 people arrived for a much anticipated meeting with FEMA representatives, but the reps didn't show up. That caused already frayed tempers to boil over, and residents blocked traffic to vent their anger.
"It's fair to say there's a very high level of frustration," says Dan Mundy, a longtime resident of Broad Channel and a battalion chief with the FDNY. "It got ugly for a couple of minutes. People blocking traffic. We had the meeting in a pitch black parking lot and were able to calm them down."
There's a growing sentiment in Broad Channel and the Rockaways that the National Guard, FEMA and the city Office of Emergency Management should have been on the ground much faster than they have been with supplies, ready to provide aid. Some people are concerned that OEM is turning to nonprofits to supply aid, which is seen as slowing the process.
"People are saying, there's no National Guard, no Red Cross, no FEMA, they were elsewhere, but they weren't here," Mundy says. "This is a long term thing. They say 4 to 5 days for the power, but I think it'll be 7 to 10, and then you have to check it's safe, and then deal with the oil burners and the structural damage. Right now, we need a FEMA tent, food, hot showers."
Calls are flowing in to elected officials, who are hardly equipped to solve problems and at pains to supply answers until the big relief agencies get in gear.
And people in Old Howard Beach are wondering why they weren't told to evacuate.
Photo from the Times Ledger