Sunday, November 11, 2012

Disaster in Coney Island-Help is Needed Now

In the wake of writing my own Sandy story yesterday, I came upon a friend of a friend,  Eric Moed, and his work in Coney Island, post Hurricane.  What he speaks of echos the words of my students about elderly facilities they work at, and the town of Island Park, near Long Beach, which as been abandoned post Sandy.

This is an environmental justice story:  The poor, the elderly, the underprivileged, and the racially discriminated against are the hardest hit by such climate change disasters.  It is horrifying how our government turns a blind eye on the neediest.

They are receiving NO aid, food, or services.  NOTHING.

Bodies are piling up.

Occupy Sandy has come to the rescue, but they need our help, too.   Please share the following story far and wide.  The Occupy Sandy movement exhibits the very positive side of environmental and human rights activism:  love and caring.

Here are Eric Moed's chilling words:

I just graduated architecture school at Pratt Institute and go involved with Occupy Sandy when the hurricane hit. To be clear: I had absolutely nothing to do with Occupy Wall Street, nor did I even care for them too much. However Occupy Sandy has utilized the positive and successful aspects of OWS such as crowd-sourcing, press, and zero hierarchy/quick mobilization of people in line with one principal: to provide immediate and responsible mutual aid. Mutual aid differs from charity as it consists of community building- to help communities organize to help themselves.

I have been out in the Coney Island Housing Complexes (located at 2828 Neptune Avenue, Southern Coney Island) for a week now. Seven 18 hour work days with NO FEMA, NO Red Cross, No NYCHA, No NYC representatives.

There are ZERO agencies out in the Coney Island Housing, Odwire Gardens Housing or Surfside Houing right now. NO FEMA, NO RED CROSS, NO NYC HOUSING, NO AUTHORITIES WHATSOEVER. The FEMA tent is a 20 minute walk away. The Red Cross has BARELY been there [they sometimes send one truck for 15-20 buildings once or twice a day].

The only presence of bigger foundations/organizations is in the 'sexier' part of Coney Island, near the Cyclone, Nathans Famous and the Boardwalk- a 20+ minute walk from the NYCHA Housing Complexes.

Within the buildings there are:
There are elderly people stuck on the top floors in pitch-black conditions with NO FOOD AND WATER. Families with no food to feed their children. Mothers with no baby formula or wipes. Diabetics and asthmatics with no medicine. THERE HAS BEEN NO POWER, HEAT OR WATER FOR TWO WEEKS. Next to no one has flashlights and/or batteries.

My small crew of volunteers PERSONALLY gave out these goods to the above people in need and encouraged them with what little info and energy we had. We saw the issues first hand.

I am a coordinator for People's Relief- a group of normal citizens who saw a need and filled it. We are not Occupy Sandy but have been consistently working directly with them- using their amazing and organized resources.

More importantly People's Relief works DIRECTLY with the Presidents of the Coney Island Houses and the Odwire Houses. Today we used the community rooms in multiple buildings a relief sites- distribution for all necessities like food, water, batteries, baby supplies, feminine products ect. We expect to do this in more buildings.

All of the supermarkets and bodegas within a 15 minute walk of the above Housing have been flooded or looted. THERE IS NOWHERE NEAR THEM TO BUY FOOD.

We've seen the most traumatic things you can imagine: There are bodies being pulled out of buildings. Children sleeping on filthy flood-damaged floors. Resident's heating their homes using their stoves and poisoning themselves. Elderly people with no one to talk to living alone on an entire floor: nowhere to even defecate, let alone eat.

The staten Island Borough President said shortly after the storm: "The government is there to do for people what they cannot do for themselves." We pay our taxes- so WHERE ARE THEY?

Lastly, to state the severity of the absolute oversight of these tens-of-thousands of residents: An elderly woman said to me the other day- "Help! Are you from the Red Cross?"

I responded: "No, I'm from New York."


To get involved and help out, go to  for the latest information!  Your time and donations are deeply needed and appreciated.

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