Cold weather latest woe for Sandy victims

Far Rockaway relief efforts
Singh Tarlok, left, hands a bowl of hot food to Arnell Franklin at a food line run by community volunteers in the oceanside community of Far Rockaway in the Queens borough of New York on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. The area was devastated by superstorm Sandy.
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

(CBS News) There is new urgency in the recovery effort this morning because the weather is not helping millions of storm victims.

This week, the weather forecasts are throwing one more challenge to areas still reeling from superstorm Sandy -- freezing temperatures for the roughly 1.6 million customers in New Jersey and New York who are still without power.

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In the Far Rockaway section of Queens, volunteers like Diane Chang aren't waiting for the government to help those who need it. They're doing it themselves.

"We saw that they needed hot food out here," Chang said. "So we thought we'd come out and cook some hot food."

At an intersection in the same area, a makeshift supermarket sprang up in a parking lot. Donations from churches and synagogues provided the inventory -- food, clothes and plenty more -- for people who say the Federal Emergency Management Agency hasn't done enough.

"I didn't expect that we'd be forgotten this long," one resident said. "We still don't have electricity, we still don't have heat."

The dropping temperatures are on everyone's mind. "It's just crazy, it's sad," a resident said. "It is desperate, it's very desperate."

(See WFOR-TV's chief meteorologist David Bernard's report on "CBS This Morning" on what to expect from this new storm.)


It's creating a new urgency for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He said to the press recently, "The magnitude of the problem is we think we could have something between 30 and 40,000 people that we are going to have to find housing for. We are working on it."

Adriaan Barnard is wondering what's taking so long. "We're cold," she said. "At night we bundle together under the blankets that we have."

She came looking for whatever she could get for her and her three young children. She said, "It's hard, you know, because you don't want your babies to go hungry, so I mean, me, I can go hungry, but I don't want my children to go hungry."

Her relief came in the form of food and diapers. Though the diapers were one size too small, Barnard said, "He can squeeze in them for now, something's better than nothing. Something's better than nothing."

In Queens, police have instituted a 9:00 p.m. curfew to help keep the streets clear at night.

For Jim Axelrod's full report, watch the video in the player above.

To help victims of Sandy, donations to the American Red Cross can be made by visiting Red Cross disaster relief, or you can text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.