By Naeisha Rose
With the memory of Superstorm Sandy still fresh in their minds, lawmakers in southern Queens are doing their part to help with relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey victims.
“This will be the worst natural disaster in American history,” said Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder, president and chairman of AccuWeather, a global weather center. “The economy’s impact, by the time its total destruction is completed, will approach $160 billion, which is similar to the combined effect of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.”
City Councilman Eric UIrich (R–Ozone Park) is collecting gift cards that his team will later send to Operation Blessing, a humanitarian organization that sends help for refugees, water crises and natural disasters. One of his constituents brought the non-profit to his attention via Facebook.
“One of my constituents from Breezy Point, Theresa Flanigan, is organizing a gift card collection with Operation Blessing for hurricane victims in Texas,” Ulrich said. “Operation Blessing was a huge help in Rockaway after Superstorm Sandy. They will put all gift cards collected directly into the hands of the people who needed it most. If you are interested in helping this effort, you can purchase gift cards from Home Depot, Walmart, Target, Visa, etc. and drop them at either of my district offices.”
Operation Blessing’s expertise in safe water efforts will be necessary.
“Houston, the United States’ fourth largest city, will be uninhabitable for weeks, and possibly months, due to water damage, mold, disease-ridden water and all that will follow this 1,000-year flood,” according to Myers.
Once U.S. Disaster Relief Team finishes its evacuation of Taft and Rockland Texas, Operation Blessing will begin a mass volunteer management operation for relief and recovery efforts, according to Chris Roslan, a representative for the organization.
On Oct. 29, 2012 Hurricane Sandy slammed into New York City, destroying more than 100 homes in Breezy Point on the Rockaway Peninsula, leaving a path of death and destruction behind in Queens and other low-lying parts of the city.
State Sen. Leroy Comrie (D–St. Albans) is directing his constituents to safe institutions where they can donate in order to prevent them from being conned by fake charities.
“Comrie was glad to learn that Gov. Cuomo has mobilized New York Air National Guard rescue teams in support of the rescue and recovery efforts in Texas and Louisiana,” a spokesman for the senator said. “At this time, constituents who would like to contribute are encouraged to donate money to organizations like the American Red Cross, the Houston Food Bank, and the Food Bank of Corpus Christi. Moreover, those who donate should be cautious of charity scams, which often unfortunately emerge during difficult times like this.”
Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D–St. Albans) is working with the clergy in his district to collect clothes and materials for Hurricane Harvey victims, according to his spokesman.
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) is informing his constituents to make their donations to Jesus Christ Ministries, located at 112-05 Rockaway Blvd. in Jamaica.
State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-South Ozone Park) is planning to announce a collection drive.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose