With thousands of residents still reeling as a result of two devastating storms which struck Long Island in recent weeks, plans to open a Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster recovery center in Westbury were announced Friday.
Just after signing a contract with FEMA officials granting usage of the entire second floor of the North Hempstead Yes We Can Community Center in Westbury, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman said Friday stress and anxiety levels continue for residents.
"The biggest frustration is power and power restoration," said Kaiman on a conference call. "From a power standpoint, I believe North Hempstead was one of the hardest hit on Long Island."
The Long Island Power Authority has struggled to provide full service to thousands of Long Islanders following superstorm Sandy, which made landfall Oct. 29, and a nor'easter which passed through the area Wednesday. Widespread power outages, gas shortages, downed power lines, closed roads, dead traffic lights and property damage have plagued tens of thousands of residents since Oct. 29.
About 73,000 customers were restored to power since the nor'easter hit. Wednesday's storm knocked out 123,000 additional customers, according to LIPA.
"We do a have a sense between now and Monday a sizeable number of people will have power on in the area," said Kaiman.
FEMA personel have begun moving into the Westbury location and will soon provide information and assistance to Long Island residents regarding local, state and federal aid to storm victims, according to Kaiman.
Kaiman said FEMA officials expect to serve several hundreds of people per day for the next one to two months as the center becomes fully operational in the coming days at 141 Garden Street.
The community center is currently home to North Hempstead's main emergency command center and the temporary home of more than 100 state troopers used in storm relief efforts.