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Chinatown faces long recovery after storm

By Yu Wei in New York | China Daily | Updated: 2012-11-05 08:14


Chinatown faces long recovery after storm

Eyvette Martin pushes a shopping cart full of donated household goods and food through a sand-filled parking lot in the Rockaways, a neighborhood that was hit hard and is still without power in the wake of superstorm Sandy, on Saturday, in New York. Kathy Willens / Associated Press

Restoring everything lost in the hurricane remained a daunting task for Chinatown in the southeastern section of Manhattan, the largest Chinatown in the United States and one of the areas in New York City hit hard by hurricane Sandy.

"It's a tragedy," said Zhang Shengbao, manager of the New York Mart, one of the largest supermarkets in Manhattan's Chinatown. "We did prepare for Hurricane Sandy, but we didn't prepare for the blackout. It was absolutely unexpected."

The market reopened on Nov 3 after a five-day shutdown. "Every freezer and fridge was full of food before the blackout, but now it has all been thrown away because it spoiled," Zhang said.

CAAAV, a Chinatown-based organization, has sent volunteers into housing complexes to distribute necessities.

"Right after Sandy hit the city, I went to visit some (Chinatown) community members and found they lacked information, such as whether there was school, when the electricity and train will be back on," said Helena Wong, executive director of CAAAV. Because most people who live in Chinatown are not fluent in English, "what we try to do is to fill the gap as much as we can", Wong said.

"Now with the lights coming back for most of Chinatown, our next step is to continually send volunteers out to take care of people in need based on a list we got previously," she said.

Cheers could be heard throughout lower Manhattan on Saturday as power was restored. The neighborhood has been in the dark since the storm caused an explosion at a power station.


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