Sandy relief efforts continue
Students feel UB isn’t concerned with tragedy
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
It is day five of Hurricane Sandy and though the rain and wind has died down, the aftermath has just begun.
New York City has opened up limited forms of transportation, the major airports have reopened and clean up has begun. There are 4.5 million homes without power and so far 124 people have been killed due to the storm, according to cbsnews.com.
Many students still can’t contact their families, and the floods, wind and trees have destroyed many homes.
Samuel Hakim, a junior communication major from Long Beach, N.Y., doesn’t know where he will be spending Thanksgiving. His home was flooded due to Hurricane Sandy.
Hakim just got in contact with his family Wednesday for the first time since the storm hit. They are safely in a hotel in Queens, N.Y., with electricity and heat. It was a rough couple of days before he heard from them.
Like many families in Long Beach, Hakim lived in a two-family house on the bottom floor. This meant his home was one of the first to flood. The water started rushing into his house at 8:15 p.m. with high tide and by 8:30 p.m. his family had moved upstairs to the neighbor’s place.
Now five days later, his house is still unlivable. There is four feet of water covering the floor. His cars are filled with water and permanently sunk into the ground.
“Long Beach is a war zone, from the pictures I’ve seen,” Hakim said. “But Long Beach will stay strong as a community and get better soon.”
Hakim maintains a positive attitude and states that even though his home is destroyed now, it can be rebuilt. He thinks he is lucky his home didn’t float away or burn to the ground.
Jason Rosenberg, a junior international studies and political science major, is outraged by the way UB and the student body have handled the disaster.
“Most of the UB student body is from downstate and there has been little to no sympathy from the school or the professors,” Rosenberg said. “I mean, we have students who have been worried sick about their homes, about their families and UB doesn’t seem concerned whatsoever, even still days later. They should have reached out to the students more. And they definitely should have postponed school until the next day. I was incredibly outraged.”
Rosenberg had a quiz and a test the day after the hurricane hit his hometown of Merrick, N.Y. on Long Island. He wasn’t able to focus because of the worry he had for his family.
Hakim agrees. He stayed up all night on Monday trying to get in contact with his family and in class he wasn’t in the right mindset to do any work.
“My friend from home called me while I was going to class. Somehow he has service and told me he was watching as his basement was flooding.” Hakim said. “That freaked me out. That’s when I got really nervous.”
Hakim thinks teachers should be more understanding of the students who feel they need to go home to help out because it’s a natural disaster and out of the control of the students.
He feels it is the responsibility of the university to do something about the storm.
“I wish they would understand that a lot of their population is from downstate like Long Island and New York City,” Hakim said. “I think they should take notice and send out, at the least, a letter about who to talk to. I mean, I’m in a bad situation, but I know there are students worse off than I am. Some kids homes are destroyed or underwater … it would look good and be a good thing on the part of UB if they did something to help the students.”
Rosenberg wants UB to step up and help out with the students who need it.
Since the storm, Rosenberg’s family has been without power. It only took them a few hours to reserve a room in a hotel room to ensure warmth and electricity, and now almost all the hotel rooms near his hometown are booked, according to Rosenberg.
He has been able to contact them through texts and calls and has found out his family is safe, but three trees have fallen in his backyard.
“I’m worried, but I’m less worried knowing my family is safe,” Rosenberg said. “I wish I was with them. I feel at such a disconnect being eight hours away.”
Hakim wants to be with his family, too. Even though he can video chat and call them at any time now, he wants to aid in the clean-up efforts.
“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I only want to be with my family if the worst were to happen,” Hakim said. “I would want to be with them no matter if the house burned down or not. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Corey Rosen’s family is expected to be without power for the next 10 days.
Rosen, a sophomore communication and film studies major and resident of Mamaroneck, N.Y. in Westchester County, has been in contact with her family through texting. They have been charging their phones at a friend’s house with power.
The signal is shaky and unreliable, but she knows her family is safe.
Her main concern is a tree that fell on her house during the storm.
“Because so much chaos is occurring, my parents have not been able to receive help to remove the tree,” Rosen said. “I wish I was home to help out the community as well as my own house.”
The National Guard has stepped into many towns, including Hakim’s home in Long Beach, to start clean up and damage control. They have enforced a 7 p.m. curfew and are handing out food rations and providing fresh water to the residents. Hakim thinks it will be a long time before everything is “back to normal.”