Editor’s Note: Orla Kelleher is the Director of the Aisling Irish Center in New York and this is her heartfelt reaction to what is happening in Rockaway in New York right now in the wake of Hurricane Sandy . Donation and volunteer information is contained at the end of this article.
Fifteen volunteers from the Aisling Irish Center (in The Bronx/Yonkers) went out to Rockaway Beach yesterday to assist with relief efforts after hurricane Sandy. Two truck loads of food, cleaning and other supplies also left here thanks to Liffey Van Lines. One of those trucks had a very recognizable passenger on board - Mr Noel Kilkenny, Consul General of Ireland.
These apartment blocks are in total darkness and isolation – no power, no water, no heat, no access by phone to the outside world, no access to hot meals, no stores open for miles, and no idea when this nightmare will end.
Donations of food and other supplies from people in the community as well as essentials purchased with monies received from The American Ireland Fund have been welcomed with open arms by the residents stranded out there.
(The American Ireland Fund made $100,000 available for disaster relief)
We will continue to send out volunteers from the Aisling Center on a daily basis and Liffey Van Lines have very kindly committed to transporting supplies to areas of need as long as there is a need.
Bus and car loads of volunteers will leave here on Saturday morning. The main focus right now is going from door to door in various apartment blocks to establish resident’s medical and other needs.
The result of knocking on doors today has been that many residents who refused to leave, or had nowhere to go other than a shelter, had deteriorating health issues and had to be removed by ambulance today.
Had another day passed without one of our volunteers knocking on their doors, the outcome might have been different.
Another way we are helping people is by sourcing accommodation here in Yonkers/Woodlawn for those who have decided to move here after their homes were destroyed by the hurricane. If you know of any apartments (1/2/3 bedroom) for rent, please contact us immediately. www.aislingcenter.org.