Friday, January 4, 2013


Marion Pellicano Ambrose


The nightmare that was Hurricane Sandy is not over for many east coast residents. Can I even call them residents? Scores of people are still homeless and living in shelters and some are actually living on the streets. It’s January 2013 and there are fellow Americans still without power, living in what’s left of their home with mold and refuse all around them.  Many Americans and organizations have been kind and generous in their response to the disaster, but what about our own government? As Sandy struck, politicians got up and promised quick response, relief and assistance. And then there was the House of Representatives!

     Tuesday night, House Speaker John Boehner, allowed the house to adjourn after 'fiscal cliff' talks, but, before taking up a much broader $51 billion aid package for Sandy victims.  It was "disappointing and disgusting to watch," said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, blaming "the toxic internal politics of the House majority."

"New Jersey deserves better than the duplicity we saw on display," he said, adding, "Shame on Congress."  Christie said he had tried to reach Boehner on Tuesday night after the latter canceled a vote on the aid bill, which had already been approved by the Senate. "He did not take my calls," said Christie.

     In a news conference, Christie said he joined people of his state in feeling "betrayed" and added that the move summarizes "why the American people hate Congress."

In a statement, Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote: "This failure to come to the aid of Americans following a severe and devastating natural disaster is unprecedented. The fact that days continue to go by while people suffer, families are out of their homes, and men and women remain jobless and struggling during these harsh winter months is a dereliction of duty. "

     The plan being considered by the House Friday would send $9 billion in immediate assistance for floor insurance for Sandy victims. The other, broader, $51 billion aid package will be tackled by lawmakers on January 15.  My question is, why does it have to wait? These people are suffering and in immediate need. Take a look at how conditions in some of the affected areas look NOW!




Many of us come from these east coast areas and have family and friends still living in deplorable conditions. Members of our own DRL staff have suffered great damage and hardship due to Sandy. My sister still lives in Brooklyn. Luckily, she lives in what was Zone 2 and sustained little damage. She drove to our childhood home in Sheepshead Bay and called me almost in tears. The home we grew up in was gutted and had a bright orange paper taped to the front. Most of the houses were destroyed or so damaged they were uninhabitable. Our childhood friends’ homes in what we called “the courts” were demolished. The beautiful, historic Emmons Avenue, the heart of Sheepshead Bay had boats up on the street. The footbridge was under destroyed and large deposits of sludge formed on the sides.
The story is even worse in Long Island, Breezy Point, the Jersey Shore, parts of Connecticut, and other northeaster areas. And now they deal with dirt, filth, rubble, and on top of that – snow and cold. How can members of the House go home to their comfortable air conditioned or heated homes with their electricity, food, and family intact when they know so many are going without all these things?
 And what about FEMA? Don’t even get me started! An untold number of storm victims have been rejected for aid by FEMA for a host of reasons that range from the ridiculous to the confounding. One engaged couple happens to have the same last name and date of birth, though not related at all. FEMA denied them saying they must be related, even though they had proof that it was not true. It seems that FEMA started just sending our form rejections without even finding out what insurance was covering or not.
WHAT CAN WE DO? We need to keep reminding Washington that we want quick action and no excuses. Haven’t they had enough practice with the major hurricanes in Florida and New Orleans to have legislation in place to allow for quick and decisive action to provide emergency relief as well as long term assistance?????
Here is a link to help you find your representative.
Send them a message saying you want immediate action taken. When a vote is taken on January 15th for a relief bill for the northeast,(as promised)  let’s tell them to make sure there is no red tape that will keep the money from being distributed immediately.
Also- keep all those affected by this storm in your thoughts and prayers, as well as these politicians that have the power to help them. Pray that our leaders will choose people over profit, Americans over avarice, and assistance over ambition.



  1. Oh Marion? Your childhood home? Heartbreaking. I remember you telling me so much about that wonderful place, the room you shared with your sister, how your father created a pool in the summers.

    Houses have souls,or at least hold a big part of ours. This is so sad.

  2. Thanks Nina! I am sad about it, but my heart breaks for all those living in these areas. I know my NY friends who suffered loss said it felt like 9-11 all over again.