Not Out of the Woods Yet - Winter Week

By Mark Falanga

A house destroyed by the hurricane. Photo courtesy of DVIDSHUB.

Every time New Yorkers need a welcome distraction from a tragedy, whether it be 9/11 or Hurricane Sandy, music’s biggest stars offer to put on one hell of a show to help raise money.

The 12-12-12 concert at Madison Square Garden not only raised $30 million for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, but also featured Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, The Who, Billy Joel…even Adam Sandler and Chris Rock.

The finale featured Sir Paul McCartney first joining the surviving members of Nirvana, and then closing out the show with Alicia Keys singing “Empire State of Mind.” However, despite the good vibes being produced at the concert, the concern for the victims of the super storm continues to grow, especially as winter draws near.

In fact, just merely 10 days after the hurricane, the same coastal residents who had just barely survived the storm, were pelted with a winter nor’easter. It gave added strife to an already reeling community. Those who regained their power lost it, and those who never regained it had to suffer a cold winter storm in the dark.

In the immediate future, these harsh winter nights will become more common, so the choice the victims have to make is whether to stay with their broken homes or move into temporary housing. The fortunate ones have nearby family or friends with power; those less fortunate are forced into temporary housing sponsored by FEMA.

Though some can bring their personal belongings, the one thing they can’t bring is their heart. In an interview with NBC News, Breezy Point resident Geraldine Duke, while standing in her flooded home said, “This is my home. That’s never going to be my home. Ever.”

This was in reference to her temporary Brooklyn apartment that she now shares with her sister.

For those who stay behind, the options are very limited. Power generators are almost always needed just to create some heat. However, safety precautions are essential, as the Huffington Post reports that at least nine deaths were reported due to exposure to carbon monoxide. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention lists in their online guide that these generators never can be placed inside the home, even a garage. Also, they must be at least 20 feet away from the home and clear from any windows or openings that may lead these fumes into the house.

But the cold isn’t the only problem these victims face. Mold can be just as deadly.  According to a Bradenton Herald report, mold can aggravate allergies and in some rare cases trigger severe asthma attacks. To clean mold, simply use a small concentration of household bleach and rub in the affected areas. If bleach is too caustic, there’s a product called “Molderizer” available from a company called Optical Chemical that uses non-toxic ingredients.

While this represents the most basic concerns of the victims of Hurricane Sandy this winter, more help is always appreciated. Fox News compiled a list of all reputable charities that people can donate to. If money is a little tight this holiday season, you can still donate your time to the victims. The Occupy movement set up a website where you can volunteer on various cleanup projects in the hardest hit areas.  Follow the newswire on the website to learn about their latest projects.

Though the storm may be over, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy will be felt for a long time. One simple gesture can make all the difference.