Gone with the wind

America worships success and remains deaf to the pleas in distress. 9 months after Hurricane Sandy thousands of residents east coast of the United States remain without a roof over their heads. Lucky ones — have found shelter with relatives and friends, and the rest are crammed into shelters. They are no longer waiting for the promised widely publicized by the authorities — one hopes only on themselves. Or do not have hoped for anything.

In the last two days of October last year, the coastal areas of New York and New Jersey took over all the power of a tropical superuragana. Uncontrolled element, anyway, walked here on the fate of everyone. Many people still can not get over it. With the loss of personal property of people have somehow become accustomed to, but the fear of the threat of a new natural disaster does not let go. "We have no one to protect. The state still has done nothing to ensure our safety, if something like this happens again, "- start a conversation with this almost everyone with whom we spoke on the coast.

The actions of state institutions in the aftermath of the hurricane were so, to put it mildly, inefficient, that situation took up the Attorney General of New York State. Literally millions of dollars have gone into a black hole. The most notorious was the situation at issue in the Breezy Point neighborhood of New York Queens County. Of the 2800 houses located here in 2400 are still uninhabited, and 350 in general can not be reversed. And most importantly — they seem to have nothing to recover.

Back in December, with the help of a charity concert in aid of Breezy Point volunteers collected about $ 50 million, but the residents were listed only 150,000. Of the 300 million collected by the "Red Cross", according to prosecutors, was paid 130 million. Fund wife of the governor of New Jersey has collected $ 38 million and spent only 15. It turns out that volunteers collected 230 million simply disappeared into the bowels of bureaucracy.

No better situation with public finances. Barack Obama last winter reported on the allocation of the federal budget of $ 60 billion for disaster relief, but at the same Breezy Point them have not even seen. The destroyed area is similar to Belgrade or Pristina after the NATO bombing, that's just New York nobody bombed. "All hinder insurance companies and new rules of construction. It seems that the situation was mothballed for a long time — sadly says local resident Michael Sullivan. — The authorities refer to the letter of the law. They simply do not care about people's lives. "

Living on the coast really froze last fall. Caught in the disaster area shops and cafes are still boarded up, the private houses are empty and destroyed, and in the courts still piled up mountains of garbage and stones — like after the disaster was not nine months and nine days. In the doorways, high-rise condominiums, standing on the front line are clearly visible indelible traces of ocean — the dividing line between well-fed, quiet life and chaos, tragedy, bureaucratic indifference …

"After the storm for me every day — it's Groundhog Day — says Dan Burke, whose house after the disaster requires a full recovery. — In response to my daily requests to the insurance company come only formal replies. I have spent many years paying higher premiums, taking into account the threat of flooding, but now I have been offered compensation of up to five times less than needed for the repair. All the savings I spent raking debris, what do I rebuild a house? "

After visiting any of the coastal district of New York to begin to understand the full meaning of the phrase "on the verge of despair." The vast majority of homes in the U.S. sold under the mortgage, and the affected areas — is no exception. Only local residents now have to pay each month for housing loan is not, but for a pile of sand in the scrap. "Almost all of my income goes to pay off the mortgage — continues Dan. — But now I have no place to live, but still need to re-build the house. And so it is here at all — 40 of my neighbors either did not return to his house. "

Jack Saben, a member of the Sea Gate Community Park, is also desperate to get justice by legal means and so arranged a street rally with photos of her destroyed home. "In the first days after the accident I was shocked, devastated. Where and how to live? — Says Jack, an architect by profession. — The house that I built on his own project, was swept from the face of the earth. Insurance payment, I was offered does not cover a tenth of the cost of restoration. All these months I can not get from the city authorities. I offer to take the credit, but why do I have to pay back the bank for what was not deprived of their own free will? ".

About cynical manners prevailing among the local bureaucracy, says another significant fact. About a thousand people left without a roof over their heads, were temporarily housed in hotels in New York. However, in the spring of the city council ruled that the April 30, 400 victims have to leave the room and begin to solve their problems. The remaining 600 people (who were able to show that is about to get themselves re-housing) received orders to leave the hotel until the end of May.

Spring is over … and people thrown out on the street. Have not helped their own protests, no action of human rights defenders. "I was with great difficulty found an apartment — with tears divided Carmen Ortiz, who lost her job due to health problems. — Now all my unemployment benefits goes to rent. And the chance to change something in me — no. I can not believe that here in New York, where a lot of money to fork out to the parks and baseball stadiums, they can not build a single apartment building for people like us. America is helping God knows who somewhere in Afghanistan and in the meantime is thrown on the rubbish heap of their own citizens. "

Desperate single mother Rachel Rivera wrote an open letter of appeal to the City Council: "… My seven year old daughter Merisol in the past six months, called home in a hotel room, as the roof of our homes collapsed during Hurricane Sandy. But after a few days, we will lose our home again — this time because of the arbitrariness of the Office for the homeless. No one wants to call the hotel home, but city officials provided us with only one alternative — the street. The number of New Yorkers sleeping in shelters for the homeless, has reached record levels. Now my family will join them. " This cry for help and remained a voice crying in the wilderness of indifference.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government at all levels continue to transship the blame for its failure to act on each other. A member of the city council — one of those who made the decision to evict the poor from New York hotels — Brad Lander blamed the federal government, the delay in sending the housing choice voucher program of assistance to the victims. In response of the Obama administration's rush bravura reports about the fact that the necessary funds are allocated and municipalities should actively explore them.

Against this background, the recognition of the Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo sounds like a death sentence the system itself. "Some of our citizens are still unable to cope with the effects of the hurricane. Still miss those who have no roof over their head. These people are crushed by a load of suffering, and they have to fight with insurance companies. "

Only in a small New Jersey Hurricane Sandy destroyed 360,000 houses and apartments, most of which are still uninhabitable, and themselves disaster areas look as if a hurricane was just yesterday. It was in New Jersey passed the most massive protest against the inaction of the authorities in the aftermath of the disaster.

"Hurricane deprived me of all the affairs of life," — says Donna Venzant, owner of a small warehouse business in New Jersey. For a few days after the disaster Donna was a real star — all the U.S. media circled the photos that Donna Barack Obama hugs and promises to personally provide quick relief. Six months later, the euphoria of the heroine sensational photo was gone: "My business is located on the coast. Small merchant ships delivered goods, which are then picked up from my warehouse customers. Everything was washed away by water and wind destroyed. Knock out insurance for the docks and storage buildings I have not failed. I do not believe anyone has. "

But when Donna lost only their business, then a lot of accidents lost literally everything. And had reached an extreme point. On the outskirts of a small, unremarkable town of Lakewood is located spontaneous camp of those who are left without shelter and livelihood. About fifty plastic awnings came here in 2008 — in the midst of the economic crisis on the outskirts of Lakewood settled by those who have lost homes, jobs and often their lives. Over the past five years the number of residents of the tent camp only increased — the last refuge here found former brokers and managers, teachers and retired military, mostly residents of New Jersey and neighboring New York. People here have nowhere to go, so they try to put together the pieces of their normal life even here — in the cold ruthless society. One of polyethylene tarpaulins outcasts adapted for communication and meetings, others have built a makeshift church.

Due to the hurricane in a tent camp there was another wave of residents — those who are called "victims of Sandy." Among the new residents of Lakewood couple — Edward and Christina. Hurricane ruthlessly went through their fate under the rubble of houses were buried and the last hope. Edward and Christine turmoil began with the fact that in October 2012, just before the hurricane, they were forced to sell their house — Edward lost his job, we had to look for cheaper housing. However, Sandy crossed and these sad plans — already sold housing element razed, and new customers who have not yet paid the money for the property, refused the deal and won the case in court. Edward and Christine were left with nothing … And the only place in America where they have not given shelter, was a spontaneous camp. "We never thought we would find ourselves on the side of life — so far, in disbelief, they say. — What can literally lose everything in one moment. And that this country would be so ruthless and indifferent to our trouble. "

Meanwhile, Statistics estimated that Hurricane Sandy was the second amount of damage natural disaster in U.S. history. Officials responded by reserving additional funds in the federal budget. It seems to figure out where are the already committed billions to rebuild housing, no one is going.


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