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Hurricane Sandy Aftermath: Mold, Cold Pose Significant Health Risks In Rockaways

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Nearly a month after Hurricane Sandy ravaged parts of New York City, residents in some hard-hit areas like the Rockaways are still living without power -- but that's not all. Even worse is the creeping health risk of mold growth that followed in the wake of last month's flooding.

WABC's Jim Hoffer reports that the city has been slow to address the scores of people living in unheated and mold-infested homes in the Rockaways:

The volunteers say it's a health crisis in the Rockaways. What does the Health Department say?

"We are monitoring emergency room visits and hospitalizations for illnesses, respiratory illnesses and to date we've not seen an up-tick but we continue to monitor," Nancy Clark, asst. Health Commissioner, said.

The Health Department says it has no guidelines as to how bad the mold problem must be before considering evacuation.

And one month since Sandy, neither the city, the state, nor FEMA has a concrete plan for alternative housing for those displaced by mold, lack of heat, or a myriad of other problems making homes inhabitable.

The Rockaway peninsula has been devastated by Hurricane Sandy. When the superstorm swept through, entire neighborhoods were left flooded and without power. In one corner of the peninsula, Breezy Point, more than 80 houses were destroyed by fire during the worst part of the storm.

In the following weeks, the city's sluggish response in the harder-hit outer boroughs was already raising concerns. For many, those concerns have not been allayed. According to one volunteer who spoke with WABC:

The city needs to make available right now homes and shelters for senior citizens living in Rockaways in these conditions. It's a dire emergency that this happens immediately.

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