Although much of the attention has been focused on New York City, millions of Long Islanders were also caught in Hurricane Sandy’s path, with tens of thousands of them still without electricity or a regular supply of gasoline. In a statement sent out this afternoon by Nassau and Suffolk counties’ entire delegation in the State Senate, the local officials cried out for additional federal assistance. In doing so, they repeatedly raised the specter of Hurricane Katrina, the disaster that infamously marred former President George W. Bush’s administration.
“We are facing a massive, Katrina-style disaster here on Long Island that will only get worse unless all of the resources of the federal government are at our disposal. Incredibly, that hasn’t happened yet,” Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos declared in the release, the title of which warned of “More Death and Destruction.”
The senators all stressed the need for additional resources to rebuild homes and restore power, criticizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency for providing insufficient help as dangerously cold temperatures approach.
“Right now FEMA is doing a terrible job of disaster relief, but no one is talking about it,” Senator Carl Marcellino said. “People don’t have homes, they don’t have food, electricity and FEMA is difficult if not impossible to get a hold of. We all thought lessons were learned after Katrina; we were mistaken.”
“It is clear we are facing a disaster of epic proportions,” Senator Kemp Hannon added on. “I join in requesting President Obama to step up the federal response and to take whatever actions may be necessary.”
View the full statement below:
LONG ISLAND SENATE DELEGATION CALLS ON PRESIDENT OBAMA TO INITIATE MORE AGGRESSIVE FEDERAL RESPONSE TO SANDY
Region Facing “Katrina-style” Disaster, Spike in Crime, More Death and Destruction
Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos and the members of the Long Island State Senate delegation today called on President Obama to initiate a swift and aggressive federal disaster response to assist those who have been severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy, saying Long Island residents are facing a “Katrina-style” disaster, a potential outbreak of crime and additional deaths.
Nearly two weeks after the storm brought destruction to New York, and particularly Long Island, hundreds of thousands of people still remain without power, and countless others will need to be housed and fed before they freeze to death in their own homes. The situation was made worse by a recent Nor’easter and local residents need immediate help in meeting their basic, everyday needs.
“We are facing a massive, Katrina-style disaster here on Long Island that will only get worse unless all of the resources of the federal government are at our disposal. Incredibly, that hasn’t happened yet,” Senator Skelos said.
Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) said: “Hurricane Sandy caused devastating damage on Long Island. Families and businesses across the Island are trying to rebuild and recover. Many have lost everything and are struggling to meet even basic needs. They need all the help they can get, and they need it now. Washington must immediately mobilize all the federal resources possible to help Long Islanders get through these trying times.”
Senator Carl L. Marcellino said: “Right now FEMA is doing a terrible job of disaster relief, but no one is talking about it. People don’t have homes, they don’t have food, electricity and FEMA is difficult if not impossible to get a hold of. We all thought lessons were learned after Katrina; we were mistaken.”
Senator Kenneth P. LaValle said: “Long Islanders need the resources of the federal government to help our residents and assist with clean up and restoration of infrastructure.”
Senator Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) said, “It is clear we are facing a disaster of epic proportions. I join in requesting President Obama to step up the federal response and to take whatever actions may be necessary.”
Senator John Flanagan said: “Too many in our region are without housing and even more are without power. We need additional personnel now and better coordination on the ground before this bad situation gets even worse. I join with my colleagues in the Senate in calling on President Obama to utilize all Federal resources that will assist our residents and to coordinate with our State officials for the sake of our hard hit communities.”
Senator Jack M. Martins said: “We have residents and businesses that, more than 10 days after the storm hit, are still without power and still without heat during days when temperatures are falling. We need all of our residents and businesses to have their power restored so we can begin to rebuild what was lost. That means having a total commitment from our federal government to help us recover. The situation out there shouldn’t be underestimated. We need the resources from the federal government and we need them now.”
Senator Lee Zeldin (R,C,I-Shirley) said: “The devastation caused by Sandy requires the full commitment of assets to our region. As each day goes by, there is an intensifying threat to public health and safety in many areas on Long Island.”
Senator Owen H. Johnson said: “We need our federal government to act swiftly in establishing temporary housing for displaced families whose homes were either severely damaged or destroyed by flooding or fire. There are no motel/hotel rooms available in our area and families cannot be housed in emergency shelters long term. FEMA must make this a top priority as winter weather approaches.”