NEW YORK CITY — Federal authorities began a massive push Thursday to deliver food and water to residents stranded in buildings without power and running water following Hurricane Sandy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.
Cuomo said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be bringing 1 million meals and 1 million gallons of water to residents stranded in buildings without electricity for elevator use and running water.
"We're getting scattered reports of senior citizens, some people in public housing who are running out of food and are in high-rise buildings and can't get out of their buildings, because in some cases, the elevator is not operational — and they're literally running out of food," Cuomo said during a press briefing late Wednesday night at his Midtown office.
The first plane carrying supplies and FEMA staff came into JFK airport Thursday morning, according to Cuomo. The National Guard and FEMA will be working with the city and major nonprofits to deliver food and water to stranded residents by going door to door, he said.
"New York state will continue to deploy all our resources in response to Hurricane Sandy and adjust to the needs and concerns of New Yorkers so that we can ensure a safe and speedy recovery,” said Cuomo.
Many New York City Housing Authority residents below 34th Street have been without power since Monday night, when Hurricane Sandy began battering the city.
Residents in NYCHA complexes Downtown, specifically elderly tenants and those with disabilities, have been relaying on relatives and neighbors to bring them vital supplies as they remain stranded on high floors with no elevator service.
Many in the complexes lying in mandatory evacuation areas decided to ignore the order to leave and head for nearby shelters. Some complained about a lack of NYCHA staff directing residents on what to do in the days following the storm.
A NYCHA spokeswoman said any residents dealing with problems should call 311, despite a widespread lack of land-line and cell phone service Downtown.
"It's actually recommended that they dial 311 about any concern if they are certain a neighbor was not evacuated," NYCHA spokeswoman Sheila Stainback said.
The outages are expected to last in Manhattan until at least Friday or Saturday, authorities said.