Measuring the response to the storm damage

November 5, 2012 5:15:48 AM PST
Hurricane Sandy's destruction is staggering as is the task of trying to get help to all her victims.

"They're not informed of anything, they don't give you numbers, they belittled me and I felt this small," said Caridad Curet, a Lower East Side resident.

While many seem frustrated and forgotten, others praise the response:

"Very excited to have some food and water, we've been without water and food since Monday," said Catherine Perez, hurricane victim.

Disaster response experts tell Eyewitness News the city, state, and federal governments do deserve credit for unparalleled coordination.

"You have to give credit to Christie and Cuomo and governors for liaisoning with federal government and the Obama Administration and working to keep close tabs with local response to recovery operation," said Michael Riley, of Columbia University.

A disaster preparedness expert at Columbia University says there is also plenty of room for improvement, citing failed hospital generators that forced evacuations.

"I hope one of the lessons we can learn from this it's not where they are located but infrastructure that supports generators fuel pumps and other electrical circuitry is also protected from weather," Riley said.

Eyewitness News has also learned that New York and New Jersey have deployed just 25-30 percent of their National Guard units to hurricane relief.

That's fewer than 6,000 soldiers combined to cover thousands of square miles of devastation covering two states.

"My idea, more is better," said Lt. Gen. Russell Honore, Commander of Joint Task Force Katrina.

General Honore who took over the Katrina recovery operation after FEMA's failure says he had 50,000 National Guard.

"It provides a sense of security for people when they see National Guard, they will go around and give people food that refuse to move and bring in communication," Gen. Honore said.


Impacted residents in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut can apply for federal assistance. Affected residents must register with FEMA by phone or online to access that aid. To register by phone, residents can call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The TTY line for people with speech or hearing disabilities is 1-800-462-7585. The line is open from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., seven days per week. To register online, applications may be completed at

If residents have disaster assistance questions, they may call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-3362.