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Longford woman left homeless after Hurricane Sandy disaster

A tree lies across a normally busy road in the New York borough of Queens.

A tree lies across a normally busy road in the New York borough of Queens.

More than a week on from Hurricane Sandy- one of the biggest and most destructive storms in US mainland history- a Co Longford woman has spoken of her horror at effectively being left homeless.

Norah Egan is this week attempting to come to terms with the carnage brought about by what is believed to be the most disastrous US natural disaster in living memory.

“I have no power, no water or anything,” she candidly explained when contacted by the Leader on Friday evening.

Norah’s home, situated in the plush outer city surrondings of Long Beach, had been her place of residence for the past five years.

Now, it stands in three feet of water with almost all of its inner appliances and fittings destroyed. Of more concern to the Kenagh native is the fact she has been left without some of her most cherished possessions.

“I had photos of my family and other stuff from the day I moved away (from Kenagh) and they are lost. My diary that I kept and updated every day, that is gone too,” she explained.

Likewise, her car was swept away in the wake of Sandy’s 85mph winds, forcing her to move in with her friend, Brenda McKeogh, who also hails from Kenagh, in nearby Queens.

“They (friends) have been so good,” Norah added, taking a brief moment to collect her thoughts. “I can’t even go to work and we have just been bringing food and baby wipes to neighbours because these people can’t even clean their hands.”

Another bone of contention for Norah and hundreds of others was the apparent reluctance by local officials to cancel last Sunday’s New York Marathon.

Over the course of the weekend as the city’s mayor Michael Bloomberg did eventually bow to public pressure by cancelling the event. Speaking on Friday before the belated u-turn was made, Norah outlined the thinking behind the marathon’s proposed staging.

“On the morning of the marathon people taking part can get breakfast and other refreshments. That food could surely be going to all the people that are still suffering over here,” she said, her voice rising ever so slightly in quiet indignation.

New York City Councilman James Oddo was just as outspoken when taking to his Twitter account last week.

“If they take one first responder from Staten Island to cover this marathon, I will scream,” he said.

Meanwhile, experts have warned the total clean up costs from Hurricane Sandy are likely to be colossal.

Early estimates by financial experts put the potential cost of damage at $20bn ($15.5bn), with up to another $30bn ($23.2bn) in lost business, making it the most expensive storm in US State history.

For Norah however and so many others in a similar position, the future is a prospect filled with overriding uncertainty.

“I have nothing left,” she sighed. “My friend called me a refugee the other day. My wellies are my footwear of choice now.”

 

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