FEMA’s aid-by-zone frustrates Brooklyn residents

Posted: 3:52 PM, Nov 13, 2012
Updated: 2012-11-22 14:37:51-05

Residents miffed at FEMA’s response in Canarsie, Brooklyn

By MARIO DIAZ | @mariopix11


Residents of Canarsie did not get as impacted as other neighborhoods.

Nonetheless, they will be picking up the pieces for quite a while.

On Monday afternoon, a PIX 11 News crew captured a Nationwide Insurance representative out of Ohio working the aftermath of his 9th major storm.  A member of the company’s catastrophic team, he’s been evaluating vehicles non-stop. Since arriving to the area he has totaled more than 50.

In the vicinity of Paerdegat Avenue and 10th Street a Brooklyn Express tow truck driver points to the fenced off area and the row of cars beaide it and says, “All these cars flooded.”  He has towed more than 100 flooded vehicles throughout the borough.

The neighborhood hugs an inlet of Jamaica Bay.  During Sandy, the waters rose from there as well as through storm drains that failed to contain.  The mark from the record  water level clearly evident on nearly ever garage door as one drives around.

The residents are still confused.  They’ve lived here for years, yet they don’t know where they really live.

The reason for the confusion?

Simple according to one area insurance agent.  The area the city labels as a Zone B on its evacuation map, FEMA labels as a Zone AE.  The latter means that the base floodplain has flood elevations provided. However, residents around here are not asking for for an explanation, they’re asking for help. An ask that Winston Daly says is falling on deaf ears after FEMA originally provided him with blankets and coats, “FEMA hasn’t done anything else. The inspector came out and he inspected the damage and that was it.  He said he was going to forward it to his headquarters and I will hear from them, that’s it.” When asked if he has heard from anyone?  Daily quickly responded, “No.”

Others though like Carmen Rivera have heard back from FEMA, in the form of a rejection letter.  Rivera received the letter from FEMA after she showed the representative what her place looked like, “Over here is a studio apartment that got totally damaged. If you can see the water line, this is where the water came up to in here. So it covered all the water heaters and all the boilers because they’re all down here for the four apartments.”

As for the FEMA representative’s reaction?  “The FEMA representative he looked at it, like I said, he was here maybe two minutes and then he left and then I got the rejection letter,” said Rivera.

While nearly everyone had no positive words regarding FEMA, we did come across one resident  not only shared the story about how he lost his BMW in a matte of minutes, but also how FEMA provided him with financial assistance, “It was nothing much but at least it covered the boiler an some minor damages.”

The check was for $4900.