National Guard aids New York relief effort

Mon, Nov 5, 2012, 00:00

Members of the National Guard are being deployed in New York to help relief efforts to bring food, water and blankets to those still without power following last week’s devastating storm.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said more than 850 soldiers would arrive to help local police and fire departments. As of yesterday afternoon, more than 110,000 people city wide were still without power.

Thousands of New Yorkers came out yesterday to support the growing storm relief effort.

“People are getting up early in the weekend, going out to areas they probably have no attachment to because they want to help,” said Brooklyn resident Robbie McDonagh, on the post-Sandy volunteer effort he has been witnessing across the city.

“My friends just went online, searched which shelters and neighbourhoods needed volunteers, and went,” McDonagh added. “They’ve been shovelling debris in Red Hook in Brooklyn all day.”

Mr Cuomo announced that it would be a “couple of days” before the regional gas shortage was resolved. For some, that is the least of there worries.

About 40,000 residents are in need of long-term housing aid, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “I’ve spent the last few days in Hoboken with my cousins, whose houses were very badly hit, and in the nearby project housing estates 20,000 people are still stranded,” said Oran Kennedy, a research associate at City College New York.

Mr Kennedy lives in Harlem, which was largely unaffected, but has spent the last few days driving a van around Queens, collecting donations as part of an organised relief effort by the New York Irish Center. The items are intended for residents of devastated neighbourhoods such as Breezy Point.

During a press conference yesterday morning, the mayor Michael Bloomberg stressed that donors needed to give money, rather than supplies.