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Stories from Sandy

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Paul Hernandez of New Dorp Beach on Staten Island in New York City poses for a photograph as he stands in his front yard as a worker removes the collapsed remains of a portion of his home flooded by storm surge when Hurricane Sandy struck on October 29, 2012. Hernandez said he and other residents were angry at New York city for not doing more to protect their neighborhood from the ocean and the potential flooding of a storm like...more

Paul Hernandez of New Dorp Beach on Staten Island in New York City poses for a photograph as he stands in his front yard as a worker removes the collapsed remains of a portion of his home flooded by storm surge when Hurricane Sandy struck on October 29, 2012. Hernandez said he and other residents were angry at New York city for not doing more to protect their neighborhood from the ocean and the potential flooding of a storm like Sandy. A community effort for the last five years to have a seawall built for protection in the event of a major storm for the low-lying beach front community with a petition signed by more than 250 New Dorp residents was met with mostly silence and little attention from local and State officials. Hernandez and hundreds of his neighbors' homes were flooded by more than 13 feet of storm surge from Sandy and 23 people on Staten Island died in the storm. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Kim Joyce stands in front of the remains of her home destroyed by Hurricane Sandy on Crescent Beach in Eltingville on Staten Island New York. Joyce, who works at a Tribeca Manhattan restaurant owned one of the last remaining beach bungalow style houses remaining on the south shore of the island, an area washed over with storm surge from Sandy many blocks inland. Known to people in the area for protecting many neighborhood animals,...more

Kim Joyce stands in front of the remains of her home destroyed by Hurricane Sandy on Crescent Beach in Eltingville on Staten Island New York. Joyce, who works at a Tribeca Manhattan restaurant owned one of the last remaining beach bungalow style houses remaining on the south shore of the island, an area washed over with storm surge from Sandy many blocks inland. Known to people in the area for protecting many neighborhood animals, Kim had to swim to safety as the storm crashed through her house leaving her animals behind. She returns each day in hopes that one of her nine cats will appear. So far she has buried two and has seen only one more. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Sheila and Dominic Traina, pose for a photograph amid the remains of the house that they had lived in for 43 years in New Dorp beach on Staten Island in New York City which was completely demolished by Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012. The Trainas, who raised three sons and one daughter in the four room house built in 1925 among the colonies of former beach bungalows of New Dorp, a working class community which borders a stand...more

Sheila and Dominic Traina, pose for a photograph amid the remains of the house that they had lived in for 43 years in New Dorp beach on Staten Island in New York City which was completely demolished by Hurricane Sandy on October 29, 2012. The Trainas, who raised three sons and one daughter in the four room house built in 1925 among the colonies of former beach bungalows of New Dorp, a working class community which borders a stand of woods and the South Facing beach and Atlantic ocean just beyond, also lost three other buildings they owned on the street to the storm including one which formerly had been Dominic's Mother's house. like countless other families along the Northeast coast picking up their lives after one of the most destructive storms ever to hit the Northeast, the Trainas, who met personally with President Obama during his visit to Staten Island, now face leaving the neighborhood that Sheila Traina said a friend had called "a poor man's paradise". For Sheila and Dominic Traina and their close-knit family though, "this place was simply our home". REUTERS/Mike Segar

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(L-R) Joeseph Ciavardone, Bobby Rasmussen, and Carlo Loporto, who have been friends and neighbors living in the New Dorp beach section of Staten Island in New York City since they where children in the early 1960's pose together as they take a break from gutting out the flooded remains of the home Ciavardone lives in and was raised in by his father, Joseph Sr. a professional Jazz musician and his mother Jeanne. All three men who...more

(L-R) Joeseph Ciavardone, Bobby Rasmussen, and Carlo Loporto, who have been friends and neighbors living in the New Dorp beach section of Staten Island in New York City since they where children in the early 1960's pose together as they take a break from gutting out the flooded remains of the home Ciavardone lives in and was raised in by his father, Joseph Sr. a professional Jazz musician and his mother Jeanne. All three men who still live in this community of mostly single story former beach bungalows built between the 1920s and the 1950's where they rode their bikes as kids had their homes completely flooded when Hurricane Sandy slammed into Staten Island on October 29. All three plan to stay in the neighborhood in the low lying area of Staten Island that was so hard-hit by Sandy one of the most destructive storms ever to hit the U.S. Northeast. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Linda Restaino poses for a photograph in front of a message written by her son on the boarded up back wall of her property on Marine Way in New Dorp Beach on Staten Island in New York City that was flooded with nine feet of storm surge flooding from Hurricane Sandy. Restaino, who has lived on the property for 35 years and who's husband Frank's family has lived on the property for 3 generations said they also had a home on a portion...more

Linda Restaino poses for a photograph in front of a message written by her son on the boarded up back wall of her property on Marine Way in New Dorp Beach on Staten Island in New York City that was flooded with nine feet of storm surge flooding from Hurricane Sandy. Restaino, who has lived on the property for 35 years and who's husband Frank's family has lived on the property for 3 generations said they also had a home on a portion of the New Jersey Shore that survived the storm better than here and they hope now to leave Staten Island. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Susan Aman poses for a photograph as she searched through debris for personal belongings from her father's house and the home she grew up in with her two sisters in Oakwood Beach section of Staten Island after hurricane Sandy demolished the home, sending much of its contents across the nearby marsh. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Susan Aman poses for a photograph as she searched through debris for personal belongings from her father's house and the home she grew up in with her two sisters in Oakwood Beach section of Staten Island after hurricane Sandy demolished the home, sending much of its contents across the nearby marsh. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Reverend Fr. Alex. K Joy, Pastor and president of the St. George Malankara Orthodox Church in New Dorp beach on Staten Island in New York City, poses for a photograph in the basement of his church that was completely flooded above the ceiling into the sanctuary above by storm surge flood waters driven by Hurricane Sandy. Flooding and destroying hundreds of homes as it did to countless communities along the Northeast coast, Sandy...more

Reverend Fr. Alex. K Joy, Pastor and president of the St. George Malankara Orthodox Church in New Dorp beach on Staten Island in New York City, poses for a photograph in the basement of his church that was completely flooded above the ceiling into the sanctuary above by storm surge flood waters driven by Hurricane Sandy. Flooding and destroying hundreds of homes as it did to countless communities along the Northeast coast, Sandy has closed St. George, the first church bought and consecrated for the Malankara Syrian Orthodox church of India in the Western hemisphere. 37 years as its pastor, Reverend Joy told me that since the storm the congregation has been struggling in their attempt to raise the $150,000 to $200,000 it will need to repair damage and reopen the sanctuary since so many of the church's members live in the immediate area where nearly every home was flooded and or destroyed. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Pete "Blitz" Bellantoni poses for a photograph as he takes a break from working to remove debris and personal items from his house which was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy which hit the area hard with more than 13 feet of storm surge flooding in Oakwood Beach on the south side of Staten Island in New York City. Hundreds of single story bungalow style homes, many built between the 1920's and 1950's, and many other homes and property...more

Pete "Blitz" Bellantoni poses for a photograph as he takes a break from working to remove debris and personal items from his house which was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy which hit the area hard with more than 13 feet of storm surge flooding in Oakwood Beach on the south side of Staten Island in New York City. Hundreds of single story bungalow style homes, many built between the 1920's and 1950's, and many other homes and property were destroyed in the area. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Lisa Perez and her next door neighbor Edward Perez pose for a photograph next to a tree that both were separately swept into by rushing storm surge waters when Hurricane Sandy struck their neighborhood of Oakwood Beach. Lisa, a Filipino American who lives in a single story home, was raised 8 feet above the ground with her daughter January Nuzzo, her one-month-old grandson Lucas and son-in law Michael Nuzzo, a New York City police...more

Lisa Perez and her next door neighbor Edward Perez pose for a photograph next to a tree that both were separately swept into by rushing storm surge waters when Hurricane Sandy struck their neighborhood of Oakwood Beach. Lisa, a Filipino American who lives in a single story home, was raised 8 feet above the ground with her daughter January Nuzzo, her one-month-old grandson Lucas and son-in law Michael Nuzzo, a New York City police officer who was on duty during the storm. As sea water raced towards their home as Sandy made landfall they rushed to evacuate, Lisa tried first moving her car to higher ground and while attempting to get back to her daughter, granddaughter and dog though raging waters was swept backwards. "The water was like a river, I felt myself drowning and was screaming to my daughter,.. if i die, just stay there!" Next door neighbor Eddie Perez at the same moment was also swept into the water trying to escape his home. Eddie yelled at Lisa, now holding on to a log "go for the tree". The two climbed above the water into the tree, spending close to two hours at the height of the storm, unable to move and in danger of dying of hypothermia until a boat, swept into the street that other neighbors had now climbed into to escape drifted past. The two clambered aboard and the storm swept them inland to where the two were able to reach dry ground and shelter. January and her one-month-old and their dog were able to survive standing in waist deep water inside the house some 12 feet above sea level for the next 8 hours changing her baby on a floating mattress to keep her dry and holding her dog until she was rescued by first responders at 5am. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Kulib Abass, a New York city cab driver for the past 23 years poses for a photograph with his son Hassan, a Masters degree student in environmental science in the remains of where the house that they had shared with their family of five once stood on Kissam Avenue on Staten Island. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Kulib Abass, a New York city cab driver for the past 23 years poses for a photograph with his son Hassan, a Masters degree student in environmental science in the remains of where the house that they had shared with their family of five once stood on Kissam Avenue on Staten Island. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Pastor Joseph Paul Morrissey, President of the International Christian Ministries New York City Office and a pastor with Grace Bible Church, holds his pocket Bible as he poses for a photograph where his house once stood that was swept off its foundation and demolished when Hurricane Sandy slammed into the low-lying Oakwood neighborhood. Morrissey, a general contractor and owner of a small productions company who lived with his wife...more

Pastor Joseph Paul Morrissey, President of the International Christian Ministries New York City Office and a pastor with Grace Bible Church, holds his pocket Bible as he poses for a photograph where his house once stood that was swept off its foundation and demolished when Hurricane Sandy slammed into the low-lying Oakwood neighborhood. Morrissey, a general contractor and owner of a small productions company who lived with his wife and two children at the house near the Atlantic ocean, worked with his fellow parishioners to transform the Grace Bible Church, just steps away which also suffered serious damage into a relief and aid center for victims of the storm. Despite losing everything he and his family had in the storm, Morrissey and other members of the small Christian congregation, many of whose homes were also destroyed, have worked tirelessly to keep their church open as an aid center to feed and cloth hundreds of victims of Sandy. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Patrick Zoda, a former 15 year New York City fire department firefighter poses for a photograph in the front window of his house in Midland Beach on Staten Island in New York City that he had to climb out of to escape the rapidly rising storm surge flood waters that devastated this area destroying hundreds of homes when Hurricane Sandy hit. Zoda, age 46, who on September 11, 2001 along with his former FDNY brothers from Engine 7,...more

Patrick Zoda, a former 15 year New York City fire department firefighter poses for a photograph in the front window of his house in Midland Beach on Staten Island in New York City that he had to climb out of to escape the rapidly rising storm surge flood waters that devastated this area destroying hundreds of homes when Hurricane Sandy hit. Zoda, age 46, who on September 11, 2001 along with his former FDNY brothers from Engine 7, Ladder 1 in lower Manhattan was one of a handful of the very first firefighters to respond to the scene of the World Trade Center attacks escaped the North tower of the World Trade Center just moments before its collapse. A father of two daughters now in high school and college, Zoda tried to ride out the storm in his house to help his elderly neighbors. But as waters quickly rose around and through his one story home and his neighbors had been evacuated he was forced to escape out the front window of the house making his way six blocks inland wading through neck-deep water to safety. Zoda plans to rebuild his home, saying that after the storm his neighbors and friends have all pulled together to help each other. "It's just like after 911..we support eachother and this is my home, i'm not going anywhere". REUTERS/Mike Segar

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51-year-old Joseph Ciavardone poses for a photograph as he sits on a FEMA supplied cot in a tiny room he is occupying in the shell of what was his home and where he was raised by his father, the late Joseph Sr., a professional Jazz musician, and his mother Jeanne in New Dorp Beach. Ciavodone's is just one of hundreds of single story bungalow style homes built between the 1920's and 1950's destroyed in New Dorp and the surrounding...more

51-year-old Joseph Ciavardone poses for a photograph as he sits on a FEMA supplied cot in a tiny room he is occupying in the shell of what was his home and where he was raised by his father, the late Joseph Sr., a professional Jazz musician, and his mother Jeanne in New Dorp Beach. Ciavodone's is just one of hundreds of single story bungalow style homes built between the 1920's and 1950's destroyed in New Dorp and the surrounding areas on the south shore of Staten Island by one of the most destructive storms ever to hit the Northeast. Ciavardone says he will rebuild his family home and remain in the neighborhood of his childhood. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Ronny Kmiotek, a retired New York City police officer poses for a photograph behind the wheel of his 1965 Chevrolet Impala that was found washed up seven blocks away from his home when Hurricane Sandy slammed into the low-lying New Dorp Beach neighborhood. Kmiotek, the youngest of six brothers and sisters from Staten Island, like so many others around him lost virtually everything when one of the worst storms ever to hit the...more

Ronny Kmiotek, a retired New York City police officer poses for a photograph behind the wheel of his 1965 Chevrolet Impala that was found washed up seven blocks away from his home when Hurricane Sandy slammed into the low-lying New Dorp Beach neighborhood. Kmiotek, the youngest of six brothers and sisters from Staten Island, like so many others around him lost virtually everything when one of the worst storms ever to hit the Northeast flooded and destroyed the single story bungalow he lived in for 13 years just a few blocks from the ocean. "This storm or after it, just brought everyone here together and I am really thankful for all the help we are getting from people from all over, thanks to everyone who has responded, we need help." REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Jaswinder Kaur poses for a photograph as her two children Taranjot, age 9, and Harshjot, age 5, look on as they stand in the remains of what was their business: the Harsh Convenience and Deli in New Dorp beach. Jaswinder, a single mother who's husband was killed in an accident in 2011, had little insurance for her business that she rented the property for and faces an uncertain future as the building may need to be torn down....more

Jaswinder Kaur poses for a photograph as her two children Taranjot, age 9, and Harshjot, age 5, look on as they stand in the remains of what was their business: the Harsh Convenience and Deli in New Dorp beach. Jaswinder, a single mother who's husband was killed in an accident in 2011, had little insurance for her business that she rented the property for and faces an uncertain future as the building may need to be torn down. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Alice Lauro and her daughter Margaret pose for a photograph as they hold their statue of the Blessed Mother Mary that was one of the few items to survive intact in their home on Staten Island's south side which was gutted by more than 12 feet of storm surge flooding from Hurricane Sandy. Raising her children in the home which the Lauro's moved into in 1989, Alice found the statue in 1990 buried in her yard while digging to create a...more

Alice Lauro and her daughter Margaret pose for a photograph as they hold their statue of the Blessed Mother Mary that was one of the few items to survive intact in their home on Staten Island's south side which was gutted by more than 12 feet of storm surge flooding from Hurricane Sandy. Raising her children in the home which the Lauro's moved into in 1989, Alice found the statue in 1990 buried in her yard while digging to create a garden. Painted and placed outside their front door ever since, the statue also survived a storm driven flood with five feet of water in the home in 1999. Lauro and her husband who works for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were planning on moving away from Staten Island to retire but she says that now that they have seen the way their neighbors friends and other residents have responded to help those affected... "Now we would not live anywhere else, the people of Staten Island saved us". REUTERS/Mike Segar

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Anthony Morotto of Center Place in New Dorp Beach on Staten Island poses for a photograph in front of the home he rents with his girlfriend that was flooded by storm surge from Hurricane Sandy. One of only a handful of homes in the area with an attic or second story to seek refuge above the flood waters, during the height of the storm, Morotto heard screaming from behind his house. One of the houses behind his had shifted off its...more

Anthony Morotto of Center Place in New Dorp Beach on Staten Island poses for a photograph in front of the home he rents with his girlfriend that was flooded by storm surge from Hurricane Sandy. One of only a handful of homes in the area with an attic or second story to seek refuge above the flood waters, during the height of the storm, Morotto heard screaming from behind his house. One of the houses behind his had shifted off its foundations by the storm waters and was crushing another of his neighbors' homes. They were now screaming for help and in the rising water. Morotto tied a rope to his waist and pulled his three neighbors from the waters and though a second story window into his home where they survived. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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89 year-old World War II Veteran Michael Arbinni, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and the Normandy Invasion poses for a portrait outside the two small side-by-side single story homes, built by Arbinni's father in the early 1920s, originally as beach summer homes like many in the area that were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. "I never thought I would outlive these two little cottages but now I just might," Arbinni said. Facing...more

89 year-old World War II Veteran Michael Arbinni, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and the Normandy Invasion poses for a portrait outside the two small side-by-side single story homes, built by Arbinni's father in the early 1920s, originally as beach summer homes like many in the area that were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. "I never thought I would outlive these two little cottages but now I just might," Arbinni said. Facing two flooded houses and without the ability to empty them himself, the homes on Patterson Avenue in Midland beach were gutted to empty for Mr Arbinni by a team including two U.S. Army soldiers who came on Veteran's day on their own time to volunteer for those in need. REUTERS/Mike Segar

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