Snow, ice hit northeast US, slowing recovery and leaving thousands without power


Year: 2012
4:34 minutes (4.18 MB)
MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)

Residents in the northeast dealt with new power outages and a halting recovery after a storm brought snow and ice to the battered region. In New Jersey, more than a foot of snow came to some parts of the state and and the storm left 110,000 people without power as of Thursday afternoon, according to the utility Public Service Enterprise Group. 70,000 of those had lost power just over a week ago from Superstorm Sandy. Governor Chris Christie speaking at a press conference today:

“The utility companies are keeping crews in the state through the storm rather than releasing them when no longer needed. These crews are working through not only the storm that just finished and they did a number of things that were extraordinaryly helpful.”

In New York, neighborhoods in Staten Island were covered in snow as low temperatures made conditions difficult for residents who’ve been living in the dark and cold. Tens of thousands were displaced by Superstorm Sandy, and more than 100 killed. Gonzalo Mercado with El Centro del Inmigrante in Port Richmond said his group was walking through the neighborhood trying to make sure people had food and supplies. He said many families were sharing cramped spaces.

“We have families with three or four children in homes where they also have children in tight, tiny spaces, so for them it’s a real priority to find a place to live.”

Mercado said there were between 50 to 100 children displaced in the neighborhood and his group was finding more every day. He said he plans to meet with FEMA tomorrow to clarify what assistance is available to residents, some of whom are undocumented. In rebuilding the damaged homes and businesses in the city, day laborers may play an important role, but some are saying the storm has disrupted their ability to find work and rebuild. Camino Hernandez is a day laborer in Bay Parkway, Brooklyn.

“We are like the people who lost their homes. We are like them. But at least they have food. They don’t have electricity, at times water either, but at least the government is helping them, it gives them something. We haven’t been given anything. We belong to this city. We belong to the center here. But we don’t have anything.”

Another challenge for immigrants is a local day labor center that was shut down because of the storm. Ligia Guallpa is with the Worker Justice Project, in Bay Parkway. She said without the center, some workers have reported having trouble with wages and conditions.

Other storm survivors joined labor leaders in Manhattan today, near one of the power stations that was knocked out by Sandy. They called on congressional representatives to take action to help families rebuild through emergency aid, job creation and living wages.

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