In an interview with a reporter of a local TV station in New York, Coney Island resident Priscila Santos spoke with desperation about the lack of government assistance in the wake of the devastating hurricane Sandy earlier this week. Santos said that she and her family have been without heat or sanitation ever since Sandy struck. She said that looting has been common as residents desperately seek food and supplies. Santos also said that since the hurricane hit, she has not seen any assistance coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or other government agencies until November 2. She also expressed outrage that New York Mayor Bloomberg has allowed the New York Marathon for this weekend, instead of "focusing" on her devastated neighborhood. Another woman who was interviewed said "It's another Katrina here." She also said that residents of her apartment building are defecating in the hallways.
There are reports that elsewhere in New York and New Jersey bodies are being found, especially of the elderly and handicapped who were unaware of the oncoming storm or unable to flee. Observers on the scene say that the devastation is much worse than has been depicted by most media. In addition, the Red Cross has come in for criticism for its response. Survivors seeking food and warm clothing have instead been proffered coffee and cookies by the charity.
The lack of response to the disaster has drawn comparisons to the Katrina disaster in Louisiana in which President George W. Bush was roundly criticized for his handling of the aftermath. In that case, the federal government was initially turned down by the Democratic governor of Louisiana when federal assistance was offered. Help was slow in coming, while it was the conditions for refugees huddled in New Orleans' Superdome stadium that were the most controversial. President Barack Obama has visited New Jersey since Hurricane Sandy hit and has promised federal help to Governor Chris Christie (R), while the governors of the surrounding states are also promising to help.
Photo: Adrian Kinloch