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Brooklyn Neighborhood Wants Its Heat Turned On


Let's get an update now on the lingering storm damage from Hurricane Sandy. It was two weeks ago today that Sandy hit the East Coast. And about 200,000 are still without power. Many also don't have heat, just as the weather is getting cold. And they've about run out of another crucial commodity - patience. We have two reports now. Our first is from NPR's Quil Lawrence in Brooklyn, New York.

QUIL LAWRENCE, BYLINE: Red Hook, Brooklyn, like much of New York City's waterfront, has gotten a make-over in recent years, with lofts, new small business and parks built on the old harbor piers. But the neighborhood's working-class roots still show, including Brooklyn's largest housing project, Red Hook Houses. Some of the residents have electricity, but most say they don't have heat.

LISETTE MALDANADO: It hurts that your kids at night have to cover with four quilts, three blankets just to keep the night warm. You know what I mean?

LAWRENCE: Lisette Maldanado is in line to get donated food and water for her five children. Her gas stove works, so she warms the apartment by boiling pots of water on the stove. No one knows when the heat will come back, she says.

MALDANADO: Oh, maybe in another to three - two to three days. Two to three days.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Foreign language spoken)

LAWRENCE: Her neighbor, also in line, repeats a rumor that it won't be till next month.

MALDANADO: By December, they claim now that we'll have everything fully covered.

LAWRENCE: Yesterday, a FEMA bus set up outside Red Hook Houses and started registering locals to see if they qualify for federal help. The city has announced emergency aid and warming centers around the affected areas. But most visible here are donations and volunteers, like Elizabeth Moye, a resident at NYU Medical Center.

ELIZABETH MOYE: We're just going door to door, you know, with a team - teams of two to three people with one physician, and evaluating how their needs are being met; if they're OK, do they need to go to the hospital now.

LAWRENCE: Residents say they're grateful for the outpouring of charity, but what they really need is for the city to fix their boilers and turn the heat back on.

Quil Lawrence NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Quil Lawrence is a New York-based correspondent for NPR News, covering veterans' issues nationwide. He won a Robert F. Kennedy Award for his coverage of American veterans and a Gracie Award for coverage of female combat veterans. In 2019 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America honored Quil with its IAVA Salutes Award for Leadership in Journalism.

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