Marshall Receives Updates From City On Storm Relief
Queens Borough President Helen Marshall convened several New York City agencies, including the city Departments of Police, Fire, Sanitation, Parks and Recreation (DOP), and Buildings, representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Con Edison and Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) to provide updates on the latest conditions and cleanup efforts in Queens’ areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, especially the hard hit communities of Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the entire Rockaway Peninsula.
At a joint session held on November 19, members of the Queens Borough Board and Borough Cabinet, in addition to community leaders, heard reports presented on actions taken during and after the immense storm. Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty, FDNY Queens Borough Commander Chief Robert Maynes, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, Queens Building Commissioner Derek Lee, NYPD Queens South Chief James Secreto, NYPD Queens North Deputy Chief James McCarthy, FEMA Queens Supervisor Michael Kari, LIPA Vice President Nicholas Lizanich, and Con Edison’s Queens representative Carol Conslato were all in attendance.
Among the topics covered were the restoration of electrical power, removal of downed trees, fires, arrests and water removal operations. Marshall said homeowners in the Rockaways are concerned about the need to hire electricians to certify their homes for restoration of power. The mayor’s office, through an expedited process for certification of electricians by the city, is attempting address the problem by increasing the number of available electricians needed to respond to the thousands of customers who are without power as a result of the requirement for certification before the power can be turned back on.
Doherty said more than 265,000 tons of debris from storm-affected communities citywide were removed and Maynes reported that although 21 buildings were lost in one fire, firefighters had saved 45 others. All told, 130 homes were lost in Breezy Point, said Maynes.
“Hydrants were completely underwater on streets with six to eight feet of water,” he said.
Approximately 1,000 civilians were safely evacuated on the night of October 29. FDNY is working with other agencies to clean streets covered with sand and has pumped water from more than 1,200 basements.
Lewandowski said 14,000 calls for trees were received on the evening of October 29. In addition to DOP employees,
57 private contractors were hired to handle tree toppling. By November 18, only 21 trees out of more than 1,100 trees were still on houses, she said, mostly in Community Boards 11 and 13. The boardwalk in the Rockaways was completely destroyed.