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Hurricane Sandy: The Devastation & Rebuilding Hope

My name is Kelsey Fireheart and I have survived the crazy events of Hurricane Sandy. My town is on the south shore of Long Island, New York. The water is just at the end of my street. So yes, I live in a coastal town where I constantly watch the boats sail by.
About 6:20pm, it started rising in my backyard quite rapidly. My house is on a 3 feet raised foundation. But it kept rising and rising. Then it found a way into the house, leaking through doors and places we have not even thought of. The garage was the first place to start filling up.
We were worried about the heater. But eventually the water wouldn't stop rising, in fact it rose so fast that we realized we had no chance of saving it. So we fled to higher ground, hoping that it wouldn't reach higher floors. We were wrong. Even the sandbags started to float outside our patio doors. It was so surreal watching our doors. It was like watching a fish tank. Except we were in the middle of the fish tank in a sealed place surrounded by water. 
Within 20 minutes, it was rising to dangerous heights and we were frightened because we knew it would touch the electrical plugs. We didn't want to be accidentally electrocuted. So we ran up to the top floor, me urging my cat and dogs upstairs with us. We couldn't believe our eyes how much water was coming in our house. The house was vibrating as the water was pushing its way through our floors and walls. I pulled the shades and looked through the windows. The sight is something I won't ever forget. Our street was COMPLETELY flooded from one side to other, from door to door. The moon was shining down through hazy clouds so we had this amazing sight of gentle waves going down our street. I was worried about all of the things I tried to save by putting up on tables and etc. I was hoping that the water didn't rise that high. Watching the neighbor's car being flooded, its alarms going off and the front and back lights flashing. Eventually the car stopped flashing and I knew that it was too late for their car. I just couldn't keep my eyes off the whole scenery. And within a few hours, the water started receding, so once our lower floors were clear of water. Quickly we worked through the night cleaning the water out by flashlight. My den wouldn't let the 4 inch flood of water recede for some reason, even though the water left the higher floors. So I actually had to open the patio doors and watched the water just rush out like they were glad to be free. Then Mike, my mother's boyfriend from around the corner, came to check on us. While checking our house and his in the middle of the night, he said his foundation was gone on one side. So we had him and his tenant sleep at our place because we feared for their safety. But by morning, we saw how much more was damaged in the hazy sunshine and we realized how lucky we were. A neighbor was crying that she lived here for 66 years and she lost everything. Mike was worried about how to rebuild his house and if his insurance covered it. The tree that toppled in the yard behind ours luckily didn't smash anyone's houses and my mother saying "Thank god that didn't hit us. That tree was HUGE!" There were so many hoses pumping water from houses that our streets were running with water and the sewers couldn't take that much water in that fast. So all you saw was water gurgling and bubbles.
We all tried our prevention measures, but it failed. But we were all determined to get our lives back to order. Shortly you started seeing appliances and furniture being dumped on the sidewalk. But this is gonna be a long hard road ahead. It is not over yet.

When the water rose so high in our house, the furniture actually floated.
Once the water receded, the furniture was half soaked that we had to throw them out.

The water line on our walls. That's about 3 feet of water.

Even the paint on the walls was affected because of the salt water.

The rebuilding. Slowly but surely. We have had to rip out all of the drywalls.

As you can see, the wood floors are not as smooth, it's very bumpy.
This is because of the water that made the wood swell.

The den floor actually bowed and the wood is popping up in a big hump.
We have to replace the entire wood floors.

Even our fence was damaged.

The water actually destroyed the bottom of the fence, about 4 inches,
due to the massive push of the sea.

Our heater vents that we have had to throw out. 
This is why we have no heat as well as our own heating boiler had to be removed.

Our Neighbor's tree smashed into another yard. It was a HUGE tree. This tree has been cut in half. They are slowly removing pieces of it.

That's the roots of the tree. When it toppled, the roots came with it and made
their shed not stable because the shed's walls was right above the tree's roots.
So when the roots came up, it dragged the shed's walls out. 

This is my mother's boyfriend's house. As you can see, there's 30 feet gaping hole
in its fountain. The village has deemed this house unsafe and set up a fence to prevent anyone going in.

There is so much more damage around in our coastal town. But I wanted to show you important parts of what Hurricane Sandy has done.

I find it essential to stay upbeat and positive, even though we don't have a stove, certain appliances where we can store and cook food with.
We are moving slowly but someday we will get our house to normal. It will take a few months of repairs. But I'm trying to see it as a positive thing. I mean maybe this means we can actually rebuild it in a better way that's more suited to our tastes. Who knows? We have applied for insurance and FEMA to help cover the costs which is going to be massive. The main thing that we are worried about is the heat since winter is coming. But you know, it's amazing to see how the community gets together and helps each other in the time of crisis. I have met electricians, handymen and FEMA staff that has come all way from Detroit, Texas, Upstate New York and other places that you wouldn't think of. I cannot believe they would give up their time to come all way out here just to help us rebuild. It's just an amazing thing that shows me that hope is still alive. It's alive in each person who gives a lending hand through donations, doing benefit events, giving blankets and doing direct repairs. Without them, we'd have fell apart. So thank you to each person who have donated or done something that helped the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Just remember, this will be ongoing for a few months. This will be a slow, steady recovery. Every bit helps every now and then. Hopefully by spring, we all will be back to normal and all of this will be a distant memory.

God bless those who did not survive the terrible storm and those
who are still struggling without heat, electricity and basic needs. 

To donate, please go to Red Cross:

Want to know how to donate or volunteer responsibly?

Due to a lot of people's insistence on helping me out on this situation and wanting to donate directly, there is a donate button on my site at: http://www.starsofthespiral.com

Thank you for your kindness!
Hurricane Sandy: The Devastation & Rebuilding Hope Hurricane Sandy: The Devastation & Rebuilding Hope Reviewed by The Fabulous K on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 Rating: 5

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