Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano toured parts of Long Island ravaged by Superstorm Sandy to get a first-hand glimpse of South Shore homes left uninhabitable and meet homeowners now requiring federal assistance.
Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), chairman of the homeland security committee, led Napolitano on a tour of Long Beach, Massapequa, Lindenhurst and other communities that have been devastated by the historic storm surge floodwaters. The two joined a caravan of state and local officials in assuring LI that the Island will overcome.
“We are going to be putting people here for the foreseeable future,” Napolitano told reporters during a news conference Saturday afternoon inside the Massapequa Fire Department firehouse. She noted that 100,000 homes have estimated to have been damaged or lost island-wide.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, both of which have deployed extra resources and personnel to help recovery efforts on LI, fall under the Department of Homeland Security. Staffers have been going door-to-door to check on those who’ve been without power for a week as tempratures drop into the 30s at night, she said.
“The worst may be behind us, but there’s still very bad days ahead of us,” said King, who also has been without power for a week. Assemblyman Joe Saladino (R-Massapequa) is among those who lost his home, King noted.
Local officials said they were impressed with the bipartisanship that has come through in the storm’s wake, which was a departure from the week before the storm amid the hyper-politicized environment of the presidential campaign in the run-up to Election Day on Tuesday.
“People are working together across party line, across jurisdictional lines,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, a Democrat, said at the firehouse. “None of that matters now.”
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, a Republican, concurred.
“The good news here is people are working together,” he said. “All levels of government.”