Thousands Still Living In The Cold After Sandy

In New York City, medical personnel are fanning out to provide care to residents in apartment buildings left cold and powerless by superstorm Sandy. Many people have been living without basic necessities since the storm hit 11 days ago and the teams are going door-to-door to find and treat those with medical needs.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

In New York City, medical personnel are fanning out and knocking on doors, bringing care to residents of apartment buildings left cold and powerless by Hurricane Sandy.

As NPR's Joel Rose reports, thousands of people have been living without basic necessities since the storm hit 11 days ago.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: The first building on the list is a high-rise apartment tower near the beach in Far Rockaway, Queens. There's only one working elevator, so about two dozen National Guard troops, police and officials from the city Health Department take the stairs up to the 27th floor, while ambulances and paramedics wait outside the building just in case.

(SOUNDBITE OF KNOCKING)

ROSE: This team is knocking on every door in the building to see if the residents need medicine or have any other medical problems.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Twenty-five E, how many people?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: One, just one.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Just one person and you need some water.

ROSE: Four other teams like this one are knocking on doors in high-rise buildings across the parts of the city hit hardest by Sandy. City Health Commissioner Thomas Farley says many of these buildings have been visited by volunteers or city workers since the storm, but the scale of this operation is different.

THOMAS FARLEY: It allows us to be really systematic, go building by building, door by door, knock on every single door. And if there's one person there who has been afraid to go out or has been unable to go out, we'll find that person and offer them medical services. And if they are having problems with hypothermia because they don't have enough heat, they haven't been to get enough food and water, if they haven't able to get medicine, we can take care of that.

ROSE: The Far Rockaway residents I met seemed glad to see the medical teams, although most of their questions had less to do with health and more to do with when the lights would be coming back on. Nikki Jones(ph) and other residents were gathered around space heaters in the lobby of a building that still has no heat and limited electricity.

NIKKI JONES: I'm happy that the finally get on the move but it could have been faster. Other than that, I'm all right. I'm just glad that I'm here to see another day.

ROSE: The medical teams will continue knocking on doors across the city throughout the weekend. Joel Rose, NPR News, New York.

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