Hurricane Sandy humbled New York to a third world state of mind

Long Island, New York.  Two weeks after Superstorm Sandy left over a reported 1 million out of 1.1 million Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) utility customers in Nassau and Suffolk Counties and the Rockaway Peninsula in New York without power, 75,000 are still struggling without electricity, hot water, heat and gasoline shortages.

From Right to Left. SYED.NISA.FARA (DAUGHTER) & SYED’S YOUNGER BROTHER

The combined total peak customer outages nationwide from Hurricane Sandy and the Nor’easter storm which followed are 8,661,527: 8,511,251 from Hurricane Sandy and 150,276 from the Nor’easter Storm, respectively according to a Situation Reports cited Monday by US Department of Energy Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.

Meantime, LIPA’s website updates indicates it could not restore power to about 17,500 homes and businesses in Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island and 37,500 in the Rockaways in New York City.  At a news conference LIPA chief operating officer Michael Hervey said these customers will have to wait maybe weeks for damaged electrical systems to be repaired before power can be restored.

The utility company said these property owners must hire a licensed electrician to repair the water damage and produce an electrical inspection certificate before it can restore power.

A Fox News report say a state-authorized independent analysis undertaken after Hurricane Irene last year found LIPA to be an outdated, barely competent organization.  The report added that the “agency had ignored a 2006 recommendation that it update its management system, which runs on an obsolete 25-year-old computer language.”

Over 300 irate and frustrated Long island residents staged a rally in front of LIPA’s Hicksville, New York office Friday to protest what they call LIPA’s failure to do their job and lack of communication.

Sandy is responsible for at least 113 deaths across several states, with 43 of those fatalities in New York City, according to New York’s chief medical examiner’s office.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo estimated the damage done to his state by Hurricane Sandy at $33 billion and to the region at $50 billion.

Syed (who did not want to disclose his last name) is a Muslim originally from Calcutta, India.  He and his wife Nisa, with five children Faiz, Fardeen, Farhan, Falak, Fara and younger brother moved to Valley Stream in Nassau County two years ago.

The storm’s 80 mph winds uprooted a 40 foot tree in his front yard on Monday, October 29 severely damaging his new truck and left his neighborhood without power for 12 days until last Friday.

“It was very expensive for me without power or heat and not able to cook in our house.  I have 5 children, we have been going out to eat in restaurants for nearly two weeks.  I am not so much worried about my damaged truck, I have full insurance coverage and hope the insurance company will replace my truck,” he said.

But Syed’s wife Nisa said their application for emergency relief was denied by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “they told us we are not qualified for any benefit because our house was not damaged.”

Syed’s 4 children were staying with relatives in the Queens section of New York City when their power was restored Friday.

FEMA says it has approved more than $411 million in storm aid for victims in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.  And as of Saturday afternoon, more than 356,000 people have registered for emergency assistance.

Still, Syed said he and his family feel a sigh of relief for the restoration of power and that they are very lucky to have survived the storm unscathed.

Hurricane Sandy forced the New York Stock Exchange to close for two days for the first time since 1888.  Kennedy and La Guardia airports were also closed for two days, more than 12,000 flights were cancelled according to reports by New York City Mayor’s office.

President Obama is scheduled to come to New York Thursday to see Hurricane Sandy’s destruction first-hand.

 

© 2012, Dennis Kabatto. All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.

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