While Hurricane Sandy unleashed its fury all across the Island, residents of Long Beach were among those most devastated by the storm.
On Wednesday afternoon people lined up outside of Long Beach City Hall as members of the National Guard handed out meals and water.
“We are in the assessment and recovery phase,” the City of Long Beach posted on its Facebook page Wednesday afternoon. “The City is working with all federal, state, and other communities to ensure the safety and security of the City – every resource is being brought to bear to aid Long Beach’s recovery.”
West Broadway and West Park Avenue were still covered with sand, days after the storm hit. Military vehicles drove up and down the streets, stopping to evaluate the wreckage.
Many neighborhoods were still under water. Crushed cars were parked under downed trees and sagging power lines while couches and children’s toys littered the sidewalks.
Many Long Beach residents agree that the worst part of Sandy’s aftermath is the lack of electricity, clean drinking water and sewage.
“Everything else we can deal with, but no sewage or phone service is hard,” Long Beach resident Ken Marvin said as he stood with neighbors outside of his West Walnut Street house Wednesday.
Marvin explained that his street has one of the highest elevations in Long Beach, and that about one third of his neighbors decided to ignore the mandatory evacuation order and ride out the storm in their homes. His home was damaged, he said, but it was very minimal compared to other neighborhoods in the town. Right now he was just worried about the lack of drinking water, power and sewers.
“A lot of people left after today,” he added.
Sen. Charles Schumer announced Wednesday that Illinois company Caterpillar Inc. has donated a generator for Long Beach’s water department. But residents should not expect safe drinking water until sometime next week, officials said. Schumer also announced that FEMA would aid in the rebuilding of Long Beach’s boardwalk, which was ravaged in the storm.
The City Manager of Long Beach has ordered a 7 p.m. curfew for the area, warning that anyone out on the streets after that time could be arrested. The boardwalk is also off-limits to residents, because it is structurally unsafe.
The City is urging any residents who remain to evacuate now, and they should not return until water, sewers and power are restored. Buses are picking up residents throughout the community and taking them to City Hall, where they will be transported to evacuation centers.