The people in the Rockaways have been left behind. They were devastated by Hurricane Sandy and no help has arrived in the days since. Instead, they've been wracked by looters and thugs pretending to be utility workers. In response the locals have begun to arm themselves. The Daily News reports that they're using guns, baseball bats, booby traps, machetes, and bows and arrows to fight back.
It's a horrifying situation and people feel let down and scared. Just look at some of these amazing quotes from citizens from the area:
Danielle Harris, 34: "We booby-trapped our door and keep a baseball bat beside our bed."
Carly Ruggieri, 27: "There have been people in power department uniforms knocking on doors and asking if they’re okay, but at midnight"
Walter Meyer, 37 (of Park Slope): On Facebook - "If you are heeding into the Rockaway beach to assist, there is a request for firearms, hot food, and cold beer. These next 24 hours are critical for these folks, the government has really let them down."
In person - "After sunset everyone locks their doors. They're trying to find whatever weapons they can find. Some people are even using bows and arrows."
"Nighttime here is worse than being in the jungles of Vietnam, where I was in 1969" -- man in blacked-out Far Rockaways, Queens tells @wnyc
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) November 2, 2012
Keone Singlehurst, 42: "I would take a looter with a boa. If I felt threatened I would definitely use it. It's like the Wild West. A borderline lawless situation."
City Councilman James Sanders: "We have an explosive mix here. People will take matters into their own hands."
Bradach Walsh, 39: "We’re just trying to clean everything so we can get supplies to people who need them. All our friends’ houses and cars are destroyed."
Ann Manning: "We have nothing. They’re hungry. We can’t exist. We can’t buy milk. We can’t buy cereal. We can’t buy nothing."
Shaheem Bush, 23: "It’s cold in the house, no lights on. Everything’s closed because people were stealing from stores. There’s no food. People are cooking on top of garbage cans."
WINS: 9 arrested for stealing from businesses in the Rockaways. #sandy
— Matthew Keys (@TheMatthewKeys) October 31, 2012
There's been no sign of FEMA, The Red Cross, or the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). People have been left to fend for themselves. Fortunately neighbors and good Samaritans have helped take care of each other. People have set up food stations and installed solar panels, helping each other out with money, supplies, and labor.
For information on the ongoing struggle and any and all relief efforts check out rockawayhelp.com.
Pictures from NY Scene on the Street.