Sandy Victims Say Congress Has Forgotten Them

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    Congress didn't vote on a new emergency aid package Wednesday, and victims of Hurricane Sandy on Staten Island are angry about it as they continue to struggle rebuilding their lives and paying their bills. Tracie Strahan reports (Published Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013)

    From New Jersey to Staten Island to Breezy Point, residents of communities destroyed by Sandy expressed shock and dismay at the decision of congressional leaders to delay a vote on Sandy relief.

    "Congress is not paying attention," said James Kane, a Breezy Point resident who lost his home. "We were devastated down here, as you can see."

    Breezy Point: "Congress Isn't Paying Attention"

    [NY] Breezy Point: "Congress Isn't Paying Attention"
    Breezy Point residents, some of the hardest hit by Sandy, expressed shock and dismay at the decision of Congressional leaders to delay a vote on Sandy relief. Andrew Siff reports. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013)

    A few blocks away, Marion O'Brien was coping with life without electricity and with a dangerous mold problem in her Breezy home that was once a place to play for her 17 grandchildren.

    "They're sending money to different countries and they can't help us," said O'Brien. "That's terrible."

    Moonachie Sandy Victims: "Shame on Congress"

    [NY] Moonachie Sandy Victims: "Shame on Congress"
    The delay in Congress means delays for the families who need Sandy aid most, including in Moonachie, N.J. where residents are drowning in despair and debt two months after the disaster. Pat Battle reports. (Published Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013)

    The lack of urgency on the part of Congress stood out for many residents hit hard by the storm.

    "It's an emergency to almost everybody down here except for Congress," said Kane. "It was horrible. Horrible. Unreal."

    In the tiny New Jersey borough of Moonachie, the borough hall is still uninhabitable and will be for some time. The borough can't wait for FEMA and issued its own emergency bonds for $6 million. 

    "We're hoping that the government will stop dragging its feet and realize there's a real need here," said Mayor Dennis Vaccaro. "It's times like this I'm embarrassed to be part of government."

    On Staten Island, Shawn Johnson chased a Red Cross truck down the street so he could get free bags of groceries to feed his two kids. In order to make ends meet after Sandy, Johnson has worked two jobs, he said.  

    A certain degree of desperation has become the new normal for Staten Island residents wiped out by the storm and the signs are there for anyone to see, Johnson says.  

    "There are a lot of people with signs outside their doors saying 'Help,'" Johnson said. "So that should be a sign where someone has to really open up their eyes to see what's going on. It's really ridiculous."