Monday, November 5, 2012

Far Rockaway - The Devastation Hits Home

I returned to Far Rockaway today to help with cleanup and with food and clothing distribution.  Of all the places I've visited since the hurricane, this area is the worst hit by far, and there is a overwhelming belief by community members that they are not getting the assistance that they need.

I have much, much more to share in the way of stories and images from my time on Staten Island yesterday and in Far Rockaway today, but it's after midnight here, I'm beyond exhausted, and I'll be leaving the house tomorrow at 7am to return to Rockaway to help with the polling stations.

All I'll share for now is that my eyes, ears and heart have been flung wide open for the people living in this area.  With helicopters flying overhead all day, the navy scattered across the beach and the never-ending sirens of fire trucks, police cars and ambulance, I feel like I've been in a war zone and am shell shocked, and I'm just in the area for a short time.  How the people who live here are managing to cope is beyond me.

They are eager to share their stories, the stories of neighbors rescuing neighbors when the waters flooded in.  Stories of rescues using dive gear, surf boards and swimming goggles, and stories of neighbors dying from puncture wounds where they bled out, from being trapped behind doors and in basements, from being hit by glass, and on and on and on. 

Many are willing to share their stories with me and I am planning to meet up with people I met today and record their memories.  It is important for them to be heard and I'm here to help and to witness...  What else can I do?

Visit for more photos of the area. 



Anonymous said...

Christina, I so appreciate your talents as a photographer and your efforts to both document the devastation and help restore services! Cheers, Jan

Ai Matsui said...

I am very impressed at how much you have devoted yourself to do the volunteer everyday....! Thank you for your hard working for NY and New Yorkers suffering from the disaster.....people say if you live in NY for 3 months, you are already New

Christina Whiting said...

Hi Jan. Thank you for your comments. It has been emotionally difficult being involved with cleanup efforts, but also incredibly rewarding to help residents... My heart goes out to those who have lost so much. It's odd to go from mostly untouched Brooklyn to devastation just an hour away.

Christina Whiting said...

Hi Ai. Ah ha, so I'm on my way to being a real New Yorker then!

Taz Tally said...

I just watched a History channel show on the geologic history of NY, which concluded with an oh-s0-prescient warning of the dangers that hurricains represent to NYC a bit sureal to be watching the prediction ome true. Nie work helping NYC storm victums.