By SHERRY YUAN
Published: November 15, 2012
Hurricane Sandy may have passed, but it has left thousands without homes, and even more without power and access to basic necessities. Kevin Klein, Fordham College at Lincoln Center, FCLC â15, who lives in West Islip, New York, was especially affected.
In 1975, Kleinâs house was built on a hill with the intention of preventing storm damage. However, this method proved futile against the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.
âUnfortunately, the lowest part of the house, where my dadâs office is and our garage is, was completely flooded. Our circuit breakers were destroyed because they were in our garage, and water actually rose up about four feet [there],â Klein said.
In addition to the flooding, Kleinâs family went without electricity as a result of the storm. âWe had power until about seven on Monday, [but] then it was shut off and we had to set up the generator. We have power lines underneath the ground, and the salt water actually destroyed [them], and so they have to dig up the power lines and put in new ones.â Klein remains without power as contractors recover the area in the coming weeks.
The level of destruction was unprecedented in Kleinâs town. âThis has never happened before in the history of this neighborhood,â he said. âWe were told to evacuate but [since] weâre on a hill, we stayed.â
Many of Kleinâs neighborsâ houses suffered even more damage than his own. âOne of our neighborsâ houses has to be destroyed. They have to tear it down because itâs been so messed up. In Breezy Point, our friendâs house has to be torn down too [because] the deck was lifted up and went into their neighborâs house,â Klein said.
For those whose houses remained intact after the storm, potential looting became an issue. Some have taken up arms in order to defend against looters.
âMy neighbor is a retired general, and he has a gun, and he was walking around the neighborhood saying, âif anyone comes around here Iâm gonna shoot them,ââ Klein said. âAll my neighbors are politicians and they all have guns [now]. The national guard was in our neighborhood.â
The effort to rebuild has begun in Kleinâs neighborhood and in other affected regions. Still, many hurricane victims lack basic necessities like food and water.
For those who wish to help out, New York Cares, Occupy Sandy, NYC Services, Hope for New York are all accepting monetary donations online. Students can also find a donation bin the lobby McMahon Hall, which accepts socks, flashlights and other nonperishable items.
Individuals can also get involved by volunteering their time to the rebuilding process. Organizations like NewYorkCares.org are posting hurricane response projects online on a rolling basis. By signing up for the websiteâs services, students can gain access to volunteer opportunities in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs.
Students have also formed a FCLC Hurricane Sandy response group, which posts volunteer opportunities periodically on its Facebook page. Students can look to this group to find out how to pitch in and assist people in neighborhoods like Kleinâs that were victims of the storm.