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Rockaways Residents Mark Four Weeks In Cold, Flood-Damaged Homes

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TWC News: Rockaways Residents Mark Four Weeks In Cold, Flood-Damaged Homes
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Four weeks since Hurricane Sandy brought storm surge that caused so much destruction, some Queens residents are still struggling without the barest necessities. NY1's Kristen Shaughnessy filed the following report.

Almost a month after Hurricane Sandy struck, Hector Figueroa of Arverne, Queens gets his drinking water and fills up buckets to shower from a bare pipe sticking out of his kitchen floor. There are holes in his floor and water marks higher than the window.

"We are doing terrible here," Figueroa said. "They're doing a lot of donations. Where is the money going? We ain't seen nothing."

During the storm, Figueroa climbed to the top of a bunk bed as the water rushed in.

"I was one foot away from death," he said.

For now, Figueroa is sleeping on a mattress with one blanket. He said FEMA officials came by Sunday and he expects to hear something this week.

His neighbors, Joy and Bright Akhere, say FEMA told them the agency cannot help until they settle with their insurance company, but they say their countless calls to the company have gone unanswered.

The Akheres have three young children and no heat, hot water, stove or refrigerator. They have hooked up a propane stove and use a space heater.

"Some of the ways you have to stay warm are not safe, but you do it," said Joy Akhere.

Bright Akhere said he has to put his children in five layers of clothes at night to fight off the bitter chill.

"Psychologically, I was down because I have to cope, see my children going through the pain," he said. "Have to go back to work and with all the headaches, it has been hell."

The Akheres both work, but say with all the money they had to lay out after Sandy, their credit cards are maxed out.

"We look at each other and say at least we love each other. But we get no help. You get the round-around, people talk, talk, talk but we get no help," said Joy Akhere.

The Akheres and Figueroa say a massive puddle that formed in front of their homes never goes away. Since Sandy, they feel like they are drowning in debt and unanswered questions.

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