Posts Tagged ‘hurricane sandy’

People in the Midland Beach area Residents of Staten Island May Be Exposed to Toxic Dust

November 7, 2012 1 comment

This picture was taken at Midland Beach at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Father Capodano Boulevard on Sunday, November 4th. Journalists with Civis Journal reported no unusual air quality problems. However, when visiting the same area on Tuesday, November 6th our crew immediately felt unsafe and had to cancel their trip due to possible health concerns over the highly visible presence of dust.

Whilst going down to visit the Midland Beach area that was affected by Hurricane Sandy, one journalist and a photographer had to cut short their intended trip when they saw what appeared to be excessive dust clouds in the air. As they approached Lincoln Ave and Father Capodano Boulevard it looked as if there were sand in the air. Upon closer inspection they witnessed a sanitation or rubbish removal crew piling debris from houses in large container to be hauled away. One walked about to take pictures while the other went back to his staging area to get face masks. On his return the pair attached the masks and limited themselves to only 10 minutes of photography due to the fact the dust particles in the air were intense.

Whilst they could not say for certain that all of the dust was from the debris being crushed and carted away, there is evidence to believe that most of it is. For one thing there was plenty of sand in the area on Sunday when two journalists visited the area but they did not report any unusual dust in the air. There was no widespread collection of debris in one central location, though there were sanitation trucks carting off debris in small amounts. A number of people on the streets were wearing masks on Tuesday while these journalists observed a far lower number doing the same last Sunday.

If the dust is due to the removal of materials then it is important to consider the possible ramification on residents’ health: older homes – of which there are a number in the area – contain asbestos, which if disturbed or removed in an improper manner has links with cancer. Other materials, which may not be as harmful – such as gypsum used in Sheetrock – are not good to inhale and might lead to respiratory problems.

When the World Trade Centre building were destroyed on September 11, 2001 many first responders and residents in the area became sick and developed a number of symptoms many attribute to the release of toxic debris in the area. There were concerns at the time that the air quality was unsafe and that more needed to be done to protect workers and residents. What measures are being taken to measure, record and monitor the air quality in the Midland Beach area today? The answer to that question is of no small importance to the workers, volunteers and residents of the area. With the knowledge we have gained from past errors, is it not reasonable to seek protective measures to avoid the possible exposure of people to potentially dangerous materials?
Civis Journal


Images of Midland Beach, the Damage of Hurricane Sandy and the Relief Efforts.

November 5, 2012 Comments off

These images were taken on Sunday, November 5th at or near the Midland Beach area of Staten Island, one of the three devastated sections of the island. Hurricane Sandy caused the damage seen, and these are the relief efforts to assist residents. There are boats washed up onshore, destroyed houses and a general feeling a war zone in these areas.

Staten Island’s Recovery after Hurricane Sandy

November 4, 2012 1 comment

<p><a href=”″>Staten Island’s Recovery after Hurricane Sandy</a> from <a href=”″>Civis Journal</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Civis Journal news went to Staten Island and met with residents as they stood in line to buy fuel, attempted to get relief supplies and deal with the aftermath and recovery of Hurricane Sandy.

Pictures of Staten Island’s Recovery after Hurricane Sandy

November 4, 2012 Comments off

Scenes at Miller Field as the Red Cross, National Guard and FEMA workers began to distribute good to local Staten Island residents on Friday, November 2.




Staten Island Ignored Until Friday

November 3, 2012 Comments off

A large container from a nearby hall washed up on the lawn of a woman a short distance from Miller Field. Water rose 2 metres, destroyed her car and damaged her home.

When residents of Staten Island left their homes to survey the damage after hurricane Sandy, they found they were mostly on their own. Numerous people all across the island complained to journalists about a lack of power, Con Ed repair crews, gasoline, government help and a list of other items.
It was apparent, said many residents, that Staten Island was “forgotten” or “ignored,” which they said was typical of the way NYC treated them. In the New Dorp section lines for petrol stretched from Hylan Boulevard and New Dorp Lane all along Miller Field, with drivers waiting over two hours. Most standing in line seemed in good cheer, though those in vehicles were more likely to be upset. And they had good reason to be. On Friday afternoon, several days after the storm, only a handful of gas stations were open on the island, yet thousands of people were in desperate need to find petrol for a generator – tens of thousands are still without power – or for their cars. With the SI Ferry only being restored as of Friday afternoon, the only way for residents to get to work in other boroughs was to drive; with little or no petrol in other boroughs or NJ, people became very concerned and were willing to stand in the cold wind for as long as it took.

Others were in even worse shape. For those residents just to the side of Miller Field on streets like Weed Avenue, they have been spending most of their time cleaning out what remains of their homes. On street after street in front of house after house residents deposited the former contents of their homes. Couches, sofas, refrigerators, stoves, washing machines, chairs, records, military uniforms – anything and everything one could imagine was awaiting the sanitation. No worries. Since many of the streets remain flooded, it looks like they may have to wait even longer before their rubbish can be collected. And the homeowners are not happy about their situation. Some told stories of swimming in the flood waters of their basements, just able to get out in time before being swept away. They told stories of people they knew personally who did not make it.

A short distance away is Miller Field, where this afternoon the Red Cross, National Guard soldiers, officials from FEMA  are based. Volunteers from as far away as Florida, Indiana and Arkansas drove up to assist; many are sleeping in shelters or factories. They donated their time and energy to help total strangers, and spent the afternoon – along with other volunteers who have been on the scene longer, such as Wheaton Van Lines –  sorting through and trying to pass out clothing, food and other essentials. Just five minutes away on New Dorp Lane local residents complained about the Red Cross’s failure to assist people, seemingly unaware they were operating a stone’s throw away.

Journalists on the scene witnessed more volunteer and emergency workers than Staten Island residents at Miller Field this afternoon, all of which makes one ask what the purpose of the press conference that Janet Napolitano attended was all about.  After all, residents we spoke were eager to have the media cover the problems and show the extent of the damage. Of all the American networks, few bothered to pay any attention to Staten Island until the Guardian of London and even Al Jazeera made them look like they were not doing their jobs. That a TV network based in Qatar can do better coverage than TV stations with permanent offices 12 miles away in Manhattan is just one of many reasons why residents felt they were completely ignored by their own people. Add to this the difficulties: not only are a good portion of the residents without power, some roads are blocked, some streets are flooded, families go without basics; there are those with no petrol for generators or cars, and with no train service 42nd street in Manhattan or connections to Manhattan from downtown Brooklyn, tens of thousands simply have no way of getting to work.
To be sure it is not as bad as Haiti, the Caribbean nation which has lost 51 people in Hurricane Sandy. However, Staten Island has lost 20 people to date, making it the area with the highest casualties in the United States. Having a press conference, taking a few photos and handing out food to a few people when the majority do not even know where to go for relief makes this look like nothing more than a media staged event – at least this is what some local residents said. Staten Islanders did not appear to be fooled, though they were grateful for the sincere efforts by the volunteers and workers. What they were asking was, “Where were they on Tuesday when we needed help?” and “Why does the mayor of NY want to have a marathon in the middle of this disaster?” Needless to say, a lot of people remain in need of real help.
Civis Journal


The Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in NYC

October 31, 2012 1 comment

This is a special presentation by a group of journalists who travelled to the outer reaches of NYC to see how the less developed parts are dealing with the storm on October 30th and 31st. They show a small part of the difficulties facing residents of NYC’s most isolated borough, Staten Island. Many residents are still without electricity, and several of the elderly complained of the difficulties staying warm or the effect the cold could have on their medical conditions.
In some of the photos there is a complete lack of order as cars race through streets without traffic signals or police to direct traffic. In the areas with working signals, traffic is more normalm however.  It is also possible to see downed wires hanging right onto sidewalks, the middle of the street and in the open with no cordons or warnings at all. One street off Hylan Boulevard that has extensive damage was cordoned off (Jefferson), but crews have yet to begin work. A reported saw a Con Ed van pull up, take a look at it and then speed off.

Few people were out walking the roads, though there were a number of residents removing debris from their property and trying to pump out flooded basements. During the day our journalists witnessed no trick or treaters, though there were at least a few in the afternoon.
Motorists had to drive around for miles just to find a gas station with electricity. The few open stations were mobbed with drivers willing to wait a half an hour or more to fill a tank, a reminder of what should be done before a storm arrives. Others went to supermarkets just to find some of the frozen sections cordoned off due to spoilage of food in the areas without electricity.

Whilst there were some rude drivers, there were also a large number of people showing concern for neighbours and total strangers. Most people our journalists spoke to indicated a desire to find relatives, check on their loved ones, get supplies or get to work – a daunting task without the SI Ferry, SI Rail or regular bus service (though some bus service is up and running).

NOTE: Click on pictures to enlarge.