The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

November 11, 2012

Sick, frail struggle most in storm’s aftermath

NEW YORK — Some of society’s most vulnerable people — the elderly, the disabled and the chronically ill — have been pushed to the brink in the powerless, flood-ravaged neighborhoods struggling to recover from Superstorm Sandy.

The storm didn’t just knock out electricity and destroy property when it came ashore in places like the Far Rockaway section of Queens. It disrupted the fragile support networks that allowed the neighborhood’s frailest residents to get by.

Here, the catastrophe has closed pharmacies, kept home care aids from getting to elderly clients and made getting around in a wheelchair impossible. The city has recorded at least two deaths of older men in darkened buildings.

For some living in the disaster zone, it has all been too much.

When a team of medics and national guardsmen turned up at Sheila Goldberg’s apartment tower in Far Rockaway on Friday to check on the well-being of residents, floor by floor, the 75-year-old burst into tears and begged for help caring for her 85-year-old husband.

Her husband, Irwin, has a pacemaker, wears a colostomy bag and needs her help to do almost everything. When the power was on, Goldberg said, “I could take care of him by myself and survive.” But for days, the building had no heat or electricity. There were no open stores to buy food. Until the end of the week, there was no water or elevators either, meaning residents like the Goldbergs, on the 25th floor, had to cart water up the steps just to flush the toilet.

“I’m running out of my blood pressure medication. We’re both going to drop dead in this apartment,” Sheila said. The medical team said it would make arrangements to transfer Irwin to a medical facility.

City and federal officials, and a growing army of volunteers, are trying hard to make sure families like that don’t fall into despair. Their efforts come alongside relief workers, donations, volunteers and demolition crews who flocked to New York and New Jersey in recent days to assist in the massive cleanup. The region took a few more steps to move past the storm Saturday, when power was restored for many more and gas rationing eased some of the clogged lines at stations in New York.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World
  • Organizers confident of safe race

    BOSTON — The arrest of a man with a rice cooker in his backpack near the Boston Marathon finish line led police to step up patrols Wednesday, while organizers sought to assure the city and runners of a safe race next week....

    April 17, 2014

  • Ukraine bares teeth against eastern uprising

    KRAMATORSK, Ukraine — In the first Ukrainian military action against a pro-Russian uprising in the east, government forces repelled an attack Tuesday by about 30 gunmen at an airport, beginning what the president called an “anti-terrorist ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Supremacist faces murder charges

    OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The white supremacist charged in shootings that left three people dead at two Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City made his first court appearance Tuesday....

    April 16, 2014

  • Iran cuts nuclear weapons ability

    VIENNA — The United Nations will release a report this week certifying that Iran’s ability to make a nuclear bomb has been greatly reduced because it has diluted half of its material that can be turned most quickly into weapons-grade ...

    April 16, 2014

  • People with old Social Security debts get reprieve

    WASHINGTON — People with old Social Security debts are getting a reprieve — for now....

    April 16, 2014

  • Solemn tributes mark anniversary

    BOSTON — Survivors, first responders and family members of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city’s ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Questions linger year after bombs

    BOSTON — A surveillance video shows a man prosecutors say is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev placing a bomb near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, just yards from where an 8-year-old boy was killed when it exploded....

    April 15, 2014

  • Feds abruptly end roundup

    Federal land managers abruptly ended the roundup of cattle on public land in southern Nevada owned by a rancher who has refused to recognize their authority, citing a “serious concern” for the safety of employees and the public....

    April 13, 2014

  • Calif. crash probe includes limiting bus fires

    ORLAND, Calif. — A new twist was added to the investigation of a crash involving a tour bus and FedEx tractor-trailer that killed 10 people when a couple said the big rig already was on fire when it careened across a median and sideswiped ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Disappointment, forgiveness mix in La.

    MONROE, La. — To Louisiana voters accustomed to tawdry scandals involving elected officials, disappointment with an eye toward forgiveness is the prevailing sentiment about their new congressman, caught on video embracing an aide married ...

    April 13, 2014