Good to hear that things have improved out by you, Heyang. The more of us return to normal, the more resources are available for those still in deep trouble. Because I was out of it for so long, I'm not really sure what percentage of Staten Island is really badly damaged--is it the whole island, or were some parts on high enough ground so the houses are intact? As for the southern part of New Jersey, I know that at least some communities were completely hammered, and people were only allowed to return briefly. And winter is coming!
Made a typo, the 'gas' situation is essentially resolved.
As for the substations, it's a case of 'never happens here'. Heck, New Orleans itself is below sea level and floods with just a heavy rain storm. After Irene, they built walls around them that were higher than the surge from Irene. Sandy had a much higher surge than Irene.....
I think it's the south side of Staten Island that got wrecked. The central or northern parts were relatively unscathed.
If you look at a map of NJ where the coast divots west, I believe the shoreline south of that divot were most impacted. Long Beach Island is a barrier island which is probably a few blocks in width. At the narrower parts of LBI, the bay and ocean surged and met in the middle of the island. Not everyone in LBI lost their 'home' (some are not primary residences), but it was definitely devastated, nonetheless.
Our company just finished our annual United Way campaign (we can designated charities other than UW) - it's the only time of year that the company matches 50%. Because Sandy affected our community, they decided to match 100% for all donations for Sandy relief given between Nov 1st to Nov 21st. It's tough deciding where to give. I ended up with Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. I gave more towards HFH because a lot of people are giving for the immediate issues, but people will need help rebuilding. There's also the NYC mayor's fund and a NJ governor's fund, but I don't trust that they will be administered properly - I could be wrong, of course....
The news also said that people are having a hard time finding rental properties to live in until they can rebuild. Some rentals have raised their prices 2 or 3 x pre-storm. Ugh!
Price gouging is a sin, and I hope it's also a crime.
I think it's a wise idea to allocate funds toward the longterm needs, and Habitat for Humanity is a great idea. They will definitely be involved. I'm also hoping that someone smart uses the rebuilding to generate jobs for local construction workers and other currently jobless people. It would benefit the community many times over.
Wicked Yankee Girl