One year ago, New Yorkers were bracing for Superstorm Sandy - today, state government officials are gathered in Albany to compare notes on the response and brainstorm about plans to respond to future crises and calamities.
Many struggle to recover one year after Superstorm Sandy. Republican New York State Assemblyman Pete Lopez says many of his constituents are still reeling from the one-two punch of Irene and Lee - along with others in his district impacted by Sandy.
Susan Dooha with the Center for the Independence of the Disabled in New York says her group has been busy ever since Sandy roared ashore, helping people with disabilities to get back to life as normal. Dooha says while many nonprofits and social service agencies have been proactive in responding to Sandy, she is concerned that the City of New York is still behind the curve, in its response to the last storm and advance planning for the next one.
Assemblyman Lopez is attending Governor Cuomo's Emergency Preparedness Conference, taking place Monday at the Hart Theater in the Empire State Plaza. Over the weekend, Cuomo announced the state is rolling out a pilot program on Long Island, creating the nation's first state gasoline reserve to prevent shortages during emergencies. Three million gallons of fuel will be held for motorists and first responders. The project is a response to the gas shortages that created hours-long lines in the days after Sandy.
As many people continue to wait for grants to come through so they can begin to rebuild, Sandy-stricken areas, particularly those on Long Island, face a chronic affordable housing shortage. People displaced by the storm are still living in rented apartments, hotels, motels or staying with friends or family. Long Beach Community activist James Hodge believes the storm delivered a message about New York’s “haves and have-nots.”
On Tuesday, Governor Cuomo will be joined in New York City by U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and other officials to make multiple announcements regarding the region’s storm recovery progress, visit storm-impacted sites and discuss improvements in storm resiliency on the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.