There's no overstating that Staten Island has been struck unbelievably hard by Hurricane Sandy. Twenty-two residents have been killed (about half the city's Hurricane-death toll) and neighborhoods ripped apart from the immense flooding (11 feet high). Many New Yorkers and others want to help, and while donations of toiletries, baby products, bleach, and other items listed here are welcome, Staten Island native Terea Valerio says, "We need manpower most."
Since residents are dealing with homes that have been thoroughly flooded, everything contaminated with floodwater needs to be either disinfected or thrown out. And the houses are in shambles. Valerio stresses, "We need cleaning supplies and heavy duty contracting material for cleaning. Brooms, mops, rubber gloves, bleach, wire cutters—things of that nature." After seeing these photos, those items make depressing sense.
Valerio was also fuming about FEMA and Red Cross—she says neither has been particularly effective. When it was mentioned that the Red Cross has six ERV's (Emergency Response Vehicles) on Staten Island, she said, "Yeah, I've seen them going up and down Hylan Boulevard doing nothing" while she and others have been cleaning up. What she has seen is the community coming together and unbelievable help from the FDNY, NYPD, EMT and Department of Sanitation. As for Mayor Bloomberg, Valerio didn't mince words, "Our mayor has forgotten Staten Island once again."
Back to what you can do: Now that the Staten Island Ferry is back and running and MTA has limited railway and bus service, it'll be a little easier to reach the hardest hit areas, which are New Dorp, Midland Beach, Oakwood. Valerio says to just walk to the neighborhoods. City Councilman James Oddo's office says heading below Hylan Blvd. towards the various beach neighborhoods is a good idea (there's a FEMA staging area at Miller Field, but it's unclear if that's an ideal place for volunteers to appear, since it may be busy), but mainly, "Anywhere along the shore could really use the help."
[Sunday] I will be in Tottenville and Cresent Beach in the morning and Oakwood/New Dorp Beach in the afternoon/night. Please go to these areas and just ask people if they need help -- they do. Some are reluctant to ask. We need people on to get to the beach areas and just ask....some people may not be able to get in contact with us, so we have to go to them.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis also listed her Sunday clean-up on Facebook:
New dorp beach, midland beach cleanup going very well. We have hundreds of volunteers that showed up. We plan to do oakwood beach tomorrow. Meeting at guyon and mill road tomorrow at 9am. We need people to bring their own brooms, rakes and shovels. If you can help us promote, please do. Thank you.
We're in need of strong, able-bodied individuals that are willing to go into basements to help clear up the mess and rip up sheet rock. Please contact my temporary office at 718-477-2400 ext. 3237.
Assemblywoman Malliotakis's office adds, "If you have cleanup equipment like push brooms, rakes, shovels, work gloves, and garbage bags, please bring them. Our supplies are extremely limited, so if you can bring your own it would be very helpful."