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Superstorm Sandy: One month later in Massapequa

Nelson Gomez

In some neighborhoods, remnants of Sandy's impact remain in trace amounts. Caution tape left by LIPA workers removing a downed wire is shown.

Danielle Gariglio

Brandan Lawrence

Nelson Gomez, Copy Editor

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More than one month after Superstorm Sandy’s landfall, one would barely be able to recognize Massapequa from pictures of the immediate post-storm devastation. For most, life has returned to the ordinary, but many are experiencing the residual effects of a storm that crippled Long Island with several weeks of power outages, oil shortages, and shutdowns of entire communities as business owners and workers stayed home to stay safe.

“I didn’t have power and I wasn’t able to go anywhere because my parents wanted [to] conserve gas due to the insane lines at gas stations,” sophomore Julia Araque said. “Things have pretty much gone back to normal now that we have power and we can get gas.”

Families displaced by Sandy, however, are continuing to rebuild their flood-damaged homes and are trying to return to a sense of normalcy.

“It’s been pretty bad. I haven’t been able to live in my house for about a month and we’re only going to be able to live upstairs when I come back,” sophomore Tom DaCosta said. “I never thought it would happen.”

Other students, while not being personally impacted in the aftermath of Sandy, have still witnessed and continue to live with the effects of the catastrophe in their own neighborhoods.

“South of our house there was a huge fire, and the fire department couldn’t reach it because of the flooding. We later found out that it burnt down, leaving only pavement,” sophomore Brooke Peco said. “Things have not gone back to normal in my neighborhood with so many houses still being repaired extensively… it’s like a ghost town.”

Superstorm Sandy, which caused upwards of 40 billion dollars in damage, according to the Wall Street Journal, has led to an unprecedented determination throughout affected communities to help others in need. Some Massapequa students volunteered in the storm recovery.

“I, myself, was an EMT volunteer during the storm,” junior Tony DiMarino said. “I watched headquarters during the long blackout we had but also hooked up medical equipment to patients while on rounds.”

School clubs such as the broadcasting club hosted fundraisers on behalf of Sandy relief organizations to assist those still affected by the storm’s destruction. The broadcasting club sold baked goods and “all-day Friday song requests” to raise over 400 dollars to help those affected by Sandy’s destruction. They also produced a video chronicling the devastation of the storm while looking to a brighter future for the community. In the video, WMHS member and broadcasting student Jake Cohen lip dubbed the song “Home” by Phillip Phillips as Danielle Gariglio, broadcasting student and intern, recorded and edited the final product.

“As a club, WMHS had a bake sale [from which] we raised about 230 dollars,” broadcasting club co-advisor Mary McKenna said. “I think it’s a great cause that’s really close to our hearts and it’s really important, so I’m proud of everyone for working hard and doing something to help out.”

Widespread recovery efforts by the American Red Cross, FEMA, and other organizations have brought some stability back to Long Island, but the scars left by the storm still remain. Disabled and knotted power lines still dangle from re-energized cables along Merrick Road, while disaster relief crews remain stationed on the Island, aiding the less fortunate residents.

“I would say things are kind of back to normal, but every time I drive past Marjorie Post [Park], I still see FEMA there, and that just tells me that we won’t be completely back to normal for a while,” DiMarino said.

Despite the far-reaching impacts of the storm, Massapequa and neighboring Long Island communities are focusing on the future. Shops have already reopened and many families have continued their usual lives, commuting to work, going to school, and socializing with neighbors, glad to be alive and healthy, and calling the hurricane a wake-up call.

“I hope people take more caution than they did for this storm next time,” DaCosta said, “but you never know.”

One thing remains certain, however — Sandy is a storm that will go down in Long Island history.

“As far as rebuilding, I think that although it will take a while, we’ll be able to do it by the end of next year,” junior Mike Holland said. “However, as with every catastrophic event, it will be engrained in our memories forever.”

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Superstorm Sandy: One month later in Massapequa