They fly into disaster areas, but flee from raindrops. FEMA disaster recovery centers in Hurricane Sandy-ravaged sections of the city that were supposed to provide assistance to hurricane victims went MIA Wednesday morning, posting signs saying that they were closed due to the approaching Nor'easter. The temporary shuttering of the facilities, which help victims register for disaster relief, as well as city food distribution centers come even as many of those still reeling from the monster storm were not told that they had to leave the battered areas.
On Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that residents in the low-lying portions of Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn were advised to leave ahead of the nor'easter, which could hit the city with 60 mph gusts and several inches of rain Wednesday afternoon, but that the evacuation was not mandatory like the one issued for all of Zone A ahead of Sandy. “We do not believe that it’s necessary to evacuate people,” said the mayor Wednesday. The move left residents of the storm-ravaged areas fuming. "The storm is coming. We don't know how hard it's going to hit us," said Jenny Cartagena, 46, who found the FEMA center in Coney Island closed Wednesday when she went there looking for food. "I need some help now."
Because the FEMA centers were located with food distribution and warming services, some residents who arrived there were confused by the closed centers. The city's food distribution centers, a lifeline for the thousands left without power, heat and water for more than a week, would only be operating until noon Wednesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced. And the National Guard, which was handing out food and water in Coney Island also shut down at 1:30 p.m. because of the weather, but continued handing out water to the line of approximately 30 people.
A spokemsan for the New York National Guard, Eric Durr, said that he could not comment on that specific instance but "we instructed our troops to pay attention to the weather and don’t take unecessary risks." Still, he said the guard would continue to provide relief as long as was needed.
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