Staten Island residents ask for help with clean up

11:39 AM, Nov 7, 2012   |    comments
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  • A Staten Island home destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by WZZM 13's Sarah Barwacz)
  • Long gas lines in Staten Island, NY, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by WZZM 13's Sarah Barwacz)
  • Resident of Staten Island, NY, surveying the damage of Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by WZZM 13's Sarah Barwacz)

STATEN ISLAND, NY (WZZM) -- People living in Staten Island, New York City's southwestern borough, say they need help -- and are seeking it from anywhere they can.

"We're like the forgotten borough," says Kathy Gambardella.

Hurricane Sandy hit Staten Island hard, leveling buildings and displacing hundreds of families.

"We've lost people right down at the end of my block," says Gambardella.  "We've found people who have been swept away. No one helps us except for our family and friends. Where is the city, where is the government?"

Many Staten Island residents are still without power and heat. They say they have seen little outside help in picking up the pieces.

John McKeon's entire family lost everything.  In a converation with WZZM 13's Sarah Barwacz, he pointed to lots surrounding where his home once stood.

"I live in the house right behind us, my son is in back of you, then my sister and her husband are right there and it's all gone," he says.  "It's all gone." 

A gas shortage isn't helping clean up efforts.  Residents on Staten Island say they're stranded because lines at as stations are anywhere from two to five hours long.  For some, the few gallons they're allowed is a ticket off the island.

"This is the first time I've gotten out of my college campus in the last two days," says Andrew Mancuso.  "It's the only place I had power, so I slept there."

For hospital worker, Judy Valitiutto the wait for gas is her first quiet moment to cope

"You go from hearing about a birth to a death, so it's kind of hard sometimes to control," she says, crying.

Even though they have been hit by Sandy's hardest punch, the people on Staten Island say they have an even stronger resolve to rebuild.  They just need help.

To donate to storm relief efforts, you can call the American Red Cross toll-free at 1(800) HELP-NOW (1-800-435-7669).

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