NEW YORK, USA - A week after superstorm Sandy, Filipinos in the northeastern United States are battling a new storm in the region.
New York, New Jersey, and nearby states have been pounded with winds, rain, snow, and icy temperatures.
Personal belongings of New Jersey residents affected by superstorm Sandy remain packed inside bags strewn on top of overturned furniture. Filipinos in the US northeast have been hit by a new storm just a week after Sandy. Photo by Lenn Thornhill, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
The unseasonably early winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow on parts of Connecticut and slapped the region with 50 mph winds, plunging another 300,000 homes and businesses back into darkness and creating a new commuting nightmare for a region whose transportation system was still under repairs.
US authorities have already told people in low-lying and coastal areas affected last week by Sandy to leave their neighborhoods as the new storm is bringing rain, wet snow and strong winds that could trigger floods, uproot trees and cut electricity.
Philippine Consul General Mario L. De Leon Jr. in an advisory, said Filipinos should observe the necessary precautions, stay indoors and avoid unnecessary travel because of the winter storm.
“Our kababayans are advised to ensure that they have a supply of flashlights, batteries and other similar equipment, potable water and food which is not easily perishable and warm clothing in case of power outages,” he said.
De Leon said Filipinos in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine should check regular updates from their local councils, utilities providers, and media on the winter storm.
Furniture, appliances and personal belongings of New Jersey residents affected by superstorm Sandy lie on the city's streets. Filipinos in the US northeast have been hit by a new storm just a week after Sandy. Photo by Lenn Thornhill, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
He said those who need help can go to public shelters, as well as bus pick-up locations for travel to government shelters.
Several Filipino-American run centers may also accommodate those needing urgent temporary shelter during the winter storm, according to the consulate.
People can reach the Philippine consulate in New York for assistance at telephone numbers 347-327-1884 or 917-294-0196 or the assistance-to-nationals line at 646-421-9072.
Updates are also being posted at www.newyorkpcg.org, www.facebook.com/Philippine and @pcgnewyork on Twitter.
Some Filipinos traumatized by Sandy have not been spared by the new storm.
"Iyun talagang we're so shattered, iyung nawala lahat iyung pinaghirapan talaga. Iyung iba sabi, 'you're so lucky you're alive' pero they know how it feels yung mawalan ka," one Filipino-American said.
As dangerous as Sandy
The storm is not as strong as Sandy but is equally dangerous, authorities said. It also put recovery efforts on hold in New Jersey.
The winter storm has also canceled flights in and out of the Northeast, and left cars and commuters stranded.
Much of the US Northeast dug out from the snowstorm Thursday.
The bitter cold, rain and powerful winds added to the misery of disaster victims whose homes were destroyed or power knocked out by the massive storm Sandy that smashed ashore on October 29 with epic flooding.
"God hates us!" the New York Post said in a front-page headline. Some 3 to 6 inches of snow fell on the city.
Sandy's death toll in the United States and Canada reached 121 after New York authorities on Wednesday reported another death linked to the storm, in the hard-hit coastal neighborhood of the Rockaways, a barrier island facing the Atlantic Ocean.
Some 300,000 customers from the Carolinas to New York lost power, though roughly 250,000 were restored before morning. In all some 662,000 remained in the dark after the back-to-back hurricane and nor'easter.
New York distributed space heaters and blankets to residents without heat or power and opened shelters to those in need of a warm place to sleep.
New York and New Jersey evacuated the most vulnerable coastal areas ahead of the nor'easter storm.
Some people whose homes have been flooded by Sandy were unwilling or unable to leave their homes.
They included Christine Jones, a 73-year-old resident of coastal Far Rockaway in the borough of Queens who said she and many of her neighbors planned to stay in their cold, dark apartments.
"They're scared they're going to be robbed," said Jones, whose evacuation options were limited since her 1999 Buick was flooded by Sandy's storm surge. "The teen-age boys ... they try to break in."
Commuter bus and train services had been disrupted by the storm, with the Long Island Rail Road briefly shutting down all operations to the city's eastern suburbs on Wednesday night.
All of the region's major airports experienced canceled flights and delays on Wednesday due to the storm, and gasoline remained in short supply, though four companies told the United States they intended to take advantage of a rare waiver allowing them to use foreign-flagged ships to transport oil products to the storm-hit region.
Across the region, people waited for a return of power and warmth.
Diane Reinhardt, a 64-year-old retired teacher, said she had traveled from her home in Brooklyn to the south shore of Long Island to check on her 93-year-old mother, whose home had been without power since Sandy hit more than a week ago.
"They're just at wit's end," Reinhardt said of her mother and brother. "They feel like they're never going to get power back and it's never going to get warm again." - with reports from ANC, Reuters