Staten Island officials are infuriated with what they see as a measly relief response after their borough was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, and some are going so far as to call on residents to hold back donations to the American Red Cross.
During a press conference on Thursday, Borough President James Molinaro slammed the organization for not bringing enough supplies to the devastated area, where Sandy has claimed 19 lives, hundreds of homes and blocked dozens of streets, according to NBC.
“All these people making these big salaries should be out there on the front line, and I am disappointed,” Molinaro said at the press conference, according to the news outlet. “And my advice to the people of Staten Island is: Do not donate to the American Red Cross. Let them get their money elsewhere.’"
Dubbing Staten Island the “forgotten borough,” many of its 500,000 residents say they’re not satisfied with the relief effort there. While dozens were able to get free dry ice on Thursday and the Red Cross started handing out ready-to-eat meals, according to CBS, some frustrated residents say they simply need more supplies to brave the storm's aftermath.
"It's great that it's something, but I honestly expected maybe like a blanket," one resident told CBS. "How long is this going to last? I mean, it's just a joke."
While Staten Islanders may be certain they’re being shortchanged, some experts say this level of aggravation is just a common response in the wake of such devastation.
“I think obviously in any sort of disaster context there’s always going to be a fair amount of frustration about how quickly things happen,” Keith Tidball, disaster education program director at the Cornell Cooperative Extension, told NBC.
Struggling residents will at least see a glimmer of hope on Friday when former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Molinaro announce a relief fund dedicated solely to Sandy victims in Staten Island. The fundraising effort –- which will involve the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation –- will take place across the tri-state area, the Staten Island Advance reports.
"The devastation on our coastline from the Mid-Island to the South Shore is unbelievable," Molinaro told the news outlet. "People have lost their belongings, their homes, and in some cases, their lives."
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