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FEMA Responds To Criticism Of Closure Of Mobile Centers Due To Nor'easter

BRICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Three FEMA mobile disaster units that were dispatched to Staten Island to assist Sandy victims were temporarily closed Wednesday due to the nor'easter.

The sites are used to help victims register for disaster relief and act as food distribution and warming centers.

One center on Hylan Boulevard that was supposed to be open from 8:30 a.m. through 8 p.m. had a sign taped to the front door in the morning reading, "FEMA Center Closed Due to Weather," according to a published report. Centers in other hard-hit areas reportedly had similar signs posted.

Public Information Officer John Knowles said the facilities had to be shut down for the safety of the disaster survivors and staff.

"Those trucks had to be pretty much taken down and taken off the island due to structural concerns," Knowles said. "We didn't want to have damage so we couldn't return to the island and assist individuals."

Knowles stressed that it was strictly the mobile sites that were closed.

"We had to take those tents down, we had to take those vehicles down so no one was seriously injured or hurt," Knowles said.

A fixed site at Mt. Manresa Jesuit House on Staten Island was open and fully-operational Wednesday, Knowles said.

The mobile disaster units were back up and running Thursday on Staten Island at the following locations:

600 New Dorp Lane, Staten Island, N.Y. 10306

239 Fingerboard Rd, Staten Island, N.Y. 10305

6581 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, N.Y. 10309

To find a disaster recovery center click here.

Similar closures apparently took place in hard-hit Brick, N.J. which was slammed by superstorm Sandy.

FEMA Closed In Brick, NJ Due To Nor'easter
Mike Venditte shared this picture with He said it was the sign he saw in the window of the Brick, N.J. FEMA office on Nov. 7, the day the nor'easter struck. (credit: Mike Venditte via Facebook)

Mike Venditte uploaded a picture to's Facebook page, showing the local FEMA office shuttered, calling it "unbelievable."

"I went to seek assistance for my Sandy flooded Tom's River home," Venditte wrote.

Gov. Chris Christie had ordered evacuations ahead of the nor'easter that added to the woes in that area.

The agency announced it will be opening a new disaster recovery center at 2 p.m. Thursday at 100 South Springfield Avenue in Springfield, N.J. in Union County.

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