TRINIDADIANS living in South Ozone Park, New York, say they feel blessed to have been spared Hurricane Sandy's wrath.
Sandy bore down this week on at least 24 states in the United States with tropical storm force winds and mountain snows—mainly in West Virginia.
The hurricane also created a destructive storm surge to New York City on the evening of October 29, flooding numerous streets, tunnels and subway lines in Lower Manhattan and other areas of the city and cutting off electricity in many parts. And according to Reuters, at least 20 per cent of New York City was blacked out on Tuesday when a substation exploded in downtown Manhattan Monday night.
"It is by God's graces I think we did not get any major destruction on this side," said Aleem Mohammed.
Mohammed, who has lived in New York for more than ten years, described the incident as "scary" but was "relieved" that they suffered no flooding damage.
He said while "this thing turn out to be real bad" in many areas of New York, they were fortunate that only several trees fell down - some crashing into a couple houses and cars - and that they experienced fluctuations in the power supply, "which has returned to normal".
"The Fire Services, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Authority), everybody working real fast to try and fix things," he said.
Meanwhile, Mohammed added that the New York City subway system—a lifeline for New Yorkers—was rendered useless after seawater flooded the tunnels. And according to the Huffington Post, the subway is expected to be out of service for weeks.
"Most people are returning to work and that is how they move about.
"I tried going into Manhattan (yesterday) and it took me two and half hours to reach nowhere because of all the traffic, I ended turning back and coming home.
"Most people using their cars, other walking and some riding bikes but people coming out and doing things," Mohammed said.
Shevona Yashin, who also lives in South Ozone Park, said "the only thing running is the buses".
She added that "there have not been any efforts yet to clean up in our area" which suffered from uprooted trees "because they are dealing with much bigger problems".
On the local front, members of at least one family are concerned about their relatives who live in Long Island as attempts to reach them have proved futile.
"We have tried calling, but calls are not going through. They are not even coming online, so we have no idea what is going on," said Kimberly Brooks.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Hurricane Sandy hit Long Island with the force of a tsunami.
The report said that "from its base in Red Hook, facing the Statue of Liberty, and stretching hundreds of miles east out into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island's endless string of towns, beaches, holiday destinations and canal-life getaways were smashed by a wall of water pushed north by the storm".
While in most places the power is out, mobile phone reception is patchy, and the dead traffic lights make driving a nerve-racking business.
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