It's become clear that Occupy Wall Street has emerged as a grassroots leader in the Herculean Hurricane Sandy recovery effort, with activists working to organize volunteers and donations in some of the most devastated areas of New York City. Almost immediately, the loosely-affiliated Occupy Sandy group proved instrumental in bringing help to the most destitute and displaced New Yorkers in places like the Rockaways, Coney Island and Red Hook. This moving video, filmed on the Rockaways on Election Day, is one of the best we've seen to document the desperate situation out there, where thousands are still without power, heat and homes:
After Sandy in Rockaway NYC from David Borenstein on Vimeo.
Marveling at the urgent demand for various medications, one volunteer in the video says, "We're operating under the assumption that 75 percent of the residents of this area are diabetics, because we've had that many requests." And one diabetic resident—a volunteer fireman who has been living out of his truck because the hurricane destroyed his home—explains that he gave most of his medicine to his mother, who is also diabetic. "Now, thank God, I came here and a doctor is seeing me," he says.
Another local resident who has helped organize the relief effort declares, "So far the government is not doing what it's supposed to be doing for this community. Occupy Wall Street is the one that put this together so the community can have food, water, toilet tissues and pampers for their family." And another local bluntly reveals how much the low-income community in the Rockaways was left for dead by government officials: "Three days after the storm the neighbors had to defend the neighborhood. And it's a shame. We literally were outside with machetes to keep the looters off of our block."