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Hundreds of Sandy Survivors Call for Passage of $51 Billion Dollar Aid Package


Rockaway Island residents say billions in aid needed for full recovery -   January 15, 2013
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Hundreds of Sandy Survivors Call for Passage of $51 Billion Dollar Aid PackageJAISAL NOOR (TRN AND FSRN): IN NY SATURDAY HUNDREDS OF ROCKAWAY RESIDENTS CALLED ON CONGRESS TO PASS TENS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN AID FOR STORM SURVIVORS. THE CROWD PASSED STREET AFTER STREET OF FLOOD DAMAGED HOMES, PILES OF GARBAGE,AND PIECES OF THE DESTROYED BOARDWALK ON THE STORM ERODED BEACH.

THE THEME OF ACTION WAS: "WALK A MILE IN OUR SHOES," AND COMMUNITY LEADERS AND ELECTED OFFICIALS URGED THE PUBLIC TO HOLD CONGRESS ACCOUNTABLE FOR QUICKLY PASSING A COMPLETE AID PACKAGE.CONGRESSMEMBER GREGORY MEEKS REPRESENTS NEW YORK'S 5TH DISTRICT, WHICH INCLUDES HARD-HIT FAR ROCKAWAY.

CONGRESSMEMBER GREGORY MEEKS"Come walk these beaches, come see these homes, because if you come see them and look into the eyes of all of you, because when we look into your eyes, you will see great Americans who deserve the help of their government and we need to pass the $51 billion dollars now"

JN: MANY ARE FRUSTRATED BY THE SLOW PACE OF RECOVERY AND THE DELAYED ACTION BY CONGRESS. ROCKAWAY RESIDENT DENNIS SELEEBY HAS BEEN VOLUNTEERING SINCE THE STORM HIT MORE THAN TWO MONTHS AGO. HE SAYS THEY STILL NEED BASIC SUPPLIES

Rockaway resident Dennis Seleeby

"I bring truckloads of water-water to people, drinking water because water mains are breaking. And people aren't supposed to do their wash in the water, so certainly of course not drink it. And this is America but not the America I grew up in. And I still put an American flag on everything I do, so its very painful for me to have to do this, and its disgusting for me to to see the things that I see"

JN: EARLIER THIS MONTH, THE HOUSE AUTHORIZED NEARLY $10 BILLION DOLLARS FOR THE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM, BUT DID NOT PASS AN ADDITIONAL $51 BILLION PREVIOUSLY APPROVED IN THE SENATE.

THIS WEEK, THE HOUSE WILL CONSIDER TWO SEPARATE RELIEF BILLS, THE FIRST PROVIDING ABOUT $17 BILLION IN AID, THE SECOND, AN AMENDMENT FROM NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY LAWMAKERS FOR ANOTHER $33 BILLION. THE LATTER IS EXPECTED TO FACE OPPOSITION BECAUSE IT CONTAINS FUNDING FOR NON-EMERGENCY PROGRAMS INCLUDING MONEY FOR PREVIOUS DISASTERS, BEACH REPLENISHMENT AND BETTER STORM FORECASTING. AT THE RALLY, RESIDENTS SAID FUNDING PREVENTIVE MEASURES IS ESSENTIAL TO BETTER PREPARE LOW LYING AREAS FOR FUTURE STORMS.

ROCKAWAY RESIDENT

"We have to take care of the first line of protection. And that's obviously, as you see here, there's no rocks, there's no dunes, there's no boardwalk, there's no sea wall, we have zero protection. Its gone. We used to have a bigger beach, the beach used to be up to here. Now its gone. It was gone after Irene, It's gone after this Superstorm Sandy, we need a lot of money here put on The Rockaways by the Army Corps of Engineers and we are going to be doing this, until we get it done. We are doing this rally today to make sure It all gets done. "

JN: RESIDENTS ALSO SAID PASSING THE FULL AID BILL WAS NECESSARY TO FIX OTHER, POTENTIALLY HIDDEN PROBLEMS.

PETER CORLISS, MARCH ORGANIZER

"The big analogy I am trying to say is that what the Rockaways and all these communities are suffering from right now is is a kidney punch. everybody can see a bloody nose, and you can get a camera on that, but where the damage is now, you can see some of this here and God Bless them. "

JN: MARCH ORGANIZER PETER CORLISS, WHOSE MOTHER LIVES IN THE ROCKAWAYS SAYS PASSING THE FULL AID PACKAGE IS CRITICAL BECAUSE IT INCLUDES MONEY TO PAY FOR MOLD REMOVAL, WHICH CAN BE COSTLY.

PETER CORLISS, MARCH ORGANIZER

"I think what is really important is that we get people to go down and see what mold looks like in a basement. I know my mom's own house's test results look like, they are not good. And I think that we also need to make sure people see how this is impacting family's and businesses and you are going to tear apart communities if you can't get these relief dollars in soon. "

JN: MANY, LIKE CORLISS STRESSED THAT IMMEDIATE ACTION WAS NEEDED TO ASSIST THOUSANDS WHO REMAIN DISPLACED OR WITHOUT HEAT AND HOT WATER

PETER CORLISS, MARCH ORGANIZER

"If we don't want want to see bodies piling up come the first winter storm, we need to get them to safe shelter, you just can't play around with people's lives. We have been very blessed with a mild winter so far, we can't expect that to hold.

JN: ACTIONS WERE ALSO HELD IN CONEY ISLAND, GERRITSEN BEACH, STATEN ISLAND, AND LONG ISLAND, AS WELL AS IN NEW JERSEY'S UNION BEACH, SEASIDE AND BRIGANTINE.

ORGANIZERS SAY THEY WILL TAKE FURTHER ACTION IF THE LAWMAKERS FAIL TO APPROVE FULL FUNDING FOR SANDY RECOVERY. VIDEO COURTESY OF RENEGADE PIX. REPORTING FOR THE REAL NEWS AND FSRN, THIS IS JAISAL NOOR IN NEW YORK.


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