Sandy Victims: Congress Has Forgotten Us

"It's an emergency to almost everybody down here except for Congress," a resident of one devastated neighborhood said

By Andrew Siff, Tracie Strahan and Pat Battle
|  Thursday, Jan 3, 2013  |  Updated 6:38 AM PDT
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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

NBC 4 New York

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

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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.

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.
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From New Jersey to the far reaches of New York City, 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," James Kane, who lost his home in the Breezy Point neighborhood of Queens in New York City, told NBC 4 New York. "We were devastated down here, as you can see."

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

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

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 borough of Moonachie, N.J., population 2,900, the borough hall is still uninhabitable and will be for some time. The borough can't wait for FEMA and issued their 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 in New York, 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 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." 

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