Near Riot Tonight in Hurricane-Devastated Broad Channel Over Slow Response From Relief Agencies

Categories: Featured

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."

As it stands, the food has or is spoiling right now, there are no places to buy food, people are wet and cold, and they have no heat. Residents have had to rely on each other, on makeshift kitchens, a borrowed sandwich or two, and a neighbor's floor to sleep on. A deli owner in Broad Channel gave away his food rather than see it go bad.

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.

"People are hungry, if not starving," a person familiar with the concerns says. "People are saying, we haven't eaten in two days. This is Zone A, and they knew the gravity of the situation well beforehand. They should have been prepared. It just seems that no one has really taken the initiative on this, and left it up to the pols, but it shouldn't be like that at this point."

Meanwhile, a series of evacuations has created confusion and stress for families searching for elderly people moved today from their homes to temporary sites scattered around the city.

In addition, reports of burglaries, break-ins and looting in the Rockaway continue to grow. There have been scattered fistfights. Shots were fired yesterday at people trying to break into a sneaker store. It was unclear if anyone was hit. People pretending to be representatives of FEMA have been breaking into unoccupied homes.

Back in Broad Channel, the word is there will be another try at a FEMA meeting tomorrow afternoon.

"I drove from here to Rockaways today and there are lots with two feet of sand covered with fuel oil, people walking down the street in their same clothes," Mundy says. "It's like 'Dawn of the Dead.' You see people crying left and right."

My Voice Nation Help
29 comments
jaydee2469
jaydee2469

I lived in B.C. 61-73 on W16th road.  I'm here in Washington State after retiring from the Navy. How can I help? e-mail wunway4u2@aol.com

dennisjromero
dennisjromero

@Michaelhorowicz Just auto-tweeting the headline

BCinBC
BCinBC

I live in Broad Channel and I attended this meeting- tempers did rise but it is because help was just north and south of Broad Channel but not in Broad Channel itself. The Rockaways are a mess, sure- but they have to drive right through our town to get there and no one was bothering to stop. Stopping traffic was to say, "Hey guys you can't stop ignoring us." As for the evacuation my family and I did leave on Sunday once it became mandatory so sure we are safe but our home took on 6 feet of water. Now ourselves and our neighbors have lost a lot and are stuck with homes that are cold, dark, and in need of total gutting at the time being. I'm fortunate myself to have some family that I can stay with in the meantime but not everyone is as lucky as myself. It's easy to be a tough guy and judge when you're sitting in a warm house with electric. Or if you've never been to Broad Channel and experienced the amazing community there- and please don't come. We don't need your type on our island. We can get through this BC- one day at a time- with or without help.

hempseeder
hempseeder

There is only so much they can do and can't be everywhere at once.  People should of evacuated and not be in harms way in the first place. If you think a few days is bad it took several days to weeks (6 weeks for some areas near New Orleans) after Katrina for governmental help. Many people looting were trying to get food and it was mostly regular people who were saving  people off rooftops. So don't bitch....do something about it and be thankful you're in NYC and not some place where they don't give a crap like New Orleans.

nalfonso72
nalfonso72

WHY ISNT THERE HELP FROM RED CROSS / SALVATION ARMY / FEMA SENT TO THE LOWER EAST SIDE CAMPOS PLAZA 205 AVE C BTW 12&14 ST TO THE ELDERLY WHO CAN NOT LEAVE THEIR APTS DUE TO THE DANGEROUS CONDITIONS IN THE DARK HALLWAYS, DARK STAIRWAYS 20 FLOORS. THEY NEED WATER/FOOD NOW !!!!

haciendamary
haciendamary like.author.displayName 1 Like

How dare you say "they should have....."  Let me tell you something about the people of Broad Channel.  They have pride, spirit and most of all one another, but in this time of their need I'm afraid that's not enough.  They need outside help.  I was there 52 years ago during Hurricane Donna in waist high water.  We never expected that storm to be that bad and back then there were no evacuation orders.  You rode out the storm and hoped for the best.  We survived,  we rebuilt and so will that hearty little town this time, but right now THEY NEED HELP!  Stay strong my Channel friends.  Your friends in Florida are doing all we can from this end by writing and bloging to everyone we can to try to help from this end.  Hang in there and know that all your former residents throughout this great country of ours are sending their love, prayers and all we can do to help you.  God bless Broad Channel.

margaret147
margaret147

I am trying to find out the condition of Dennis & Barb Delaney on 30 west 11th Broad Channel. Can you let us know?

hlpmason
hlpmason

MY NAME IS HENRY MASON I AM FROM BROAD CHANNEL QUEENS NYC. I LIVE IN LAS VEGAS NV. THIS IS A SHOUT OUT TO MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS IN B.C. MY GRANDFATHER IS S.LANSTRAND 750 NOLE RD. B.C. NYC. IF I CAN HELP IN ANYWAY, ANY FAMILY IS B.C. CONTACT ME. FOR HELP. hlpmason@gmail.com  FLAT SEAS AND GOOD FISHING ALLWAY. hank Mason

mozie265
mozie265 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

It really is a waste of time to debate whether people should evacuate or stay determines if they should get speedy help. They are human beings who have faced a devastating situation and they need help immediately.

expat_in_iraq
expat_in_iraq

 @mozie265 If they would be self-sufficient then they (and we) wouldn't have to worry about it.  Not eating for 3 days means they did not plan ahead. A failure to plan is a plan for failure, so why should I boo-hoo when people are mad because they can't eat for a few days?

BCres
BCres like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @expat_in_iraq  @mozie265

 kind of hard to eat when the city can't provide you with electricity to prepare your food for at least 7-10 days after the storm. How do you plan ahead for an UNPRECEDENTED weather event that floods 900 houses in one community? I planned ahead, I built my house 10 feet above the highest tide we have ever had. I evacuated, no one expected the devastation that occured.

unvoicedproject
unvoicedproject

I read this page pretty regularly. I won't be reading it anymore. The treatment the two Presidents got for the same crisis is deplorable. Because Obama took some PR shots, he gets a pass? Lets keep in mind that Sandy was a Cat 1 (the weakest classification of hurricane) and Katrina was a 5 (the strongest). I provided a link to this page's story about how Bush handled it. Obama's FEMA isn't even showing up? Really. 

 

And before you say it, no I'm not a Republican.

 

http://www.villagevoice.com/2005-08-30/news/george-bush-katrina-is-calling/

Joe_Hansen
Joe_Hansen

@OccupyWallStNYC They're busy getting the trains ready.

CVP60
CVP60

@OccupyWallStNYC @fema it could be they, @FEMA were not invited nor welcomed by city officials, thanks for helping!

mingusal
mingusal

I feel for their plight, as I would for anybody adversely affected by this storm.  Of course, it must be said that the fact that they were told to evacuate on Sunday with ample time and opportunity to do so may have something to do with why aid wasn't rushed out to them.  There wasn't supposed to still be anyone there.  Who stays on a low-lying swampy island when a huge storm surge is predicted?  And even more so, who does that and isn't even prepared to last 2 days without power or open stores?  What did they expect was going to happen?

kkas
kkas

Exactly which part of your brain isn't working? Whether people evacuated or not, they still have disaster to go back to. The Island wasn't devastated because some people stayed behind.

I'm cynical about all the "should-havers" out there who use smug, righteous indignation to avoid doing anything meaniful or charitable about someone's plight.

I'm looking for a place to send a contribution. Does St. Virgilius or the BC Volunteers have a formal relief program that's accepting donations?

Former Resident

BCres
BCres like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @mingusal

 what about the people who did evacuate?We did as we were told but we have to come back to mitigate our losses, clean up our houses, get back to work and a normal existance. We are getting no help from the city, state, federal gov't in doing so....not surprising. What sets Broad Channel apart is that we will figure it out, we will get cleaned up, fed and repaired on our own. We have even been policing our own streets. The strides we have made in 3 days with no assistance is astronomical....the ONLY agency that has stepped up is the DSNY who has been working around the clock.

daisymayusa
daisymayusa like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@mingusal we are prepared, and many did evacuate. it's the uneven distribution of emergency services that is upsetting. And we have to be home NOW to begin the task of demolition, before the wetness destroys the entire house.and to prevent looters

knightryder7
knightryder7 like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @mingusalYou know nothing of this community. They had weathered years and years of hurricanes and survived. They had no clue it was going to be that bad. As usual, they thought they could survive. Their mistake yes. A lot of them had no choice but to return and find they had nothing. What they need now is a lot of compassion and help. Not a bunch of "I told you so's"   

 

mingusal
mingusal

 @knightryder7  @mingusal But they did have a "clue" it was going to be that bad - the fact that all forecasters were predicting a much larger than normal storm surge for a category 1 storm, plus the fact that they were ordered to evacuate by the city and state governments.  I agree that they need compassion and help, and that it should be delivered as swiftly as possible. But rioting over services that haven't arrived is no help and no way to act for people who were warned that there was going to be a flood and told that they were required to leave - in part specifically for the reason that services and supplies were going to be extremely difficult to get to them under post-storm conditions - and who obstinantly decided to ignore that good advice and disobey that order.  I;ve been to Broad Channel many times, but it doesn't take really any deeper knowledge of any community under these circumstances to see that much of the responsibility for their current plight lies with the residents themselves.

knightryder7
knightryder7 like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @mingusal

 Like I said in my first post. Many or most did leave. They came back to try and save what little was left. Wouldn't you? I agree rioting is no solution. But as always, the poor areas or middle class always get taken care of last. Look at Katrina as a good example.

 

DTR83
DTR83

So, let me get this straight, the neighborhood that constantly votes for smaller government is wondering where the government is in their time of need?

 

IC

 

Obviously they need help and I hope they get it soon, but the irony. 

duluoz_cats
duluoz_cats

 @DTR83 There is no irony except that taxpayers who have been told to believe in their government have been failed by it. If the government weren't failing them, and if they were for small government, then your scenario would be "ironic." And, even that's beside the point.

poodlekins
poodlekins like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @DTR83 

Um, this is a mostly democratic neighborhood. check your facts, thanks.

daisymayusa
daisymayusa like.author.displayName 1 Like

@DTR83 You are mistaken about our voting record.

knightryder7
knightryder7 like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @DTR83

 This isn't a matter of bigger/smaller government you twit. It's a matter of people, including children that need help in a desperate time. By the way a-hole. A lot of people did leave their homes, but after time had to return only to find out they had no home. 

BlackWtheBlues
BlackWtheBlues

@RayBeckerman @villagevoice I get the feeling that more unrest will occur as the result of #HurricaneSandy

Agreenerworld
Agreenerworld

@OccupyWallSt Wonder how they would have been if they had been in NO during Katrina....

TainoBrigs
TainoBrigs

@villagevoice We all know which neighborhoods gets first-responders....

Now Trending

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

Loading...