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飓风后的华埠 2012-11-14 19:45 关注: 
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Chinatown After Storm - the Struggle and Strength

New York's Chinatown has had over 100 years of history. In the past century, it weathered ups and downs along with the city. After 9/11, Chinatown gradually came out of the shadows. But the hurricane on October 29 threw Chinatown back into darkness and fear.

"We are on the 5th floor of a Chinatown residential building. Just now we followed a woman who was carrying buckets of water from Confucious Plaza. She had to climb the dark stairs with a flash light to bring water back home. They keep their water in the hallway." (Reporter's stand-up)

Mr. Wang, who's in his 50s, lives with his wife, two children, his old parents, and their relatives, totaling ten people in one humble apartment.

"We have elderly who can't walk downstairs. My wife and I have to carry buckets of water up. They are so heavy. We get exhausted." Said Mr. Wang.

"Businesses are all closed. Bridges are closed too. We can't go anywhere. We are stuck here. My children don't have food. Yesterday I finally got some food for my kids, but they got diarrhea. I don't know what to do. My poor kids."

Once you walk into Knikerbocker Village which hasn't had power for two weeks, you feel the bone-chilling cold. It is completely dark in the staircase. You can only see the two steps before you even with a flash light. The residents, hungry and cold, are nearly running out of patience.

"We can't stand it anymore. My home is even colder than outside." One resident anxiously said.

"No one can endure this if they don't give us a date." Another added.

Knickerbocker Village is privately-owned, but it is funded by the state government. It has 12 buildings in the east and west yards, totalling
1600 residences. Chinese make up 2/3 of the residents. After 10 days of power outage, some residents finally got their power back. But over 900 residents are still in the dark.

"There is no electricity, no heat. How do we live a life like this?" A resident complained.

Among the residents here, almost 1,000 are older than 70. According to The New York Times, 101-year-old Mrs. Hsieh could not stop coughing in the coldness and eventually died. A blackout is inconvenient for everyone, but it could be life-threatening to the elderly. 88-year-old Mrs. Cui told us that she fell in the dark staircase and hurt her knees two days ago when she had to go buy more batteries for her flash light. Another old lady who is living by herself fell at home, but couldn't ring for help because there was no power.

Nine days after electricity returned Lower Manhattan, Knickerbocker is one of the very few buildings without power. But when Mayor Bloomberg was asked about Knickerbocker, he didn't even have a clue.

"I don't know specifically about Knickerbocker Village. My staff will check with the power company to find out." The mayor responded to SinoVision's question.

The mayor went on to explain that in some buildings, the power cords were flooded. There could be an explosion if power were turned on
without a professional inspection. But Comptroller John Liu who comes to help for the second time claims that the city is not doing enough for Chinatown.

"Now we're almost two weeks after the storm. And it still seems that the city services are not getting out to people who need it the most." Comptroller Liu told SinoVision.

“It is very saddening and frustrating to see families and
businesses struggling so much.” Said Councilwoman Margaret Chin.

During the interviews, we also felt the resilience and tolerance
of the Chinese. At least they still have a home compared with thousands
of New Yorkers who lost everything. They don't blame the government for helping communities in worse conditions.

“It's okay as long as we can live by every day. Our government is very busy now.” A resident told us.

Luckily in the difficult time, they have help from NGOs. Today the Tzu Chi Foundation and the United Fujianese American Association brought 1,000 hot meals to make the residents finally feel some warmth. (End)

华埠坐落在纽约市已有百年。百年来,她和这座城市一起经历了起起落落。911后,华埠艰难复兴,一步步走出阴霾。然而10月29号那场突如其来的飓风,把人们再次扔回恐惧和黑暗。

飓风过后三天内,华埠一片死寂。家里没水,居民必须上下十几层楼梯、提着水桶去公园打水;家里没电,人们晚上只有盯着蜡烛发呆;最难熬的,还是没有食物,老人家只能用干面包泡上一点冷水,勉强下咽。

走进尼克村大楼,两周的持续停暖让楼内空气冰冷刺骨。走廊里漆黑一片,打着手电也只能勉强看到眼前的一两级台阶。说起饥寒交迫的生活,居民们的忍耐濒临极限。

尼克村(10号Monroe街)是由州府补助、私人管理的住宅楼群,共有东西两院、12栋大楼、1600户家庭,华人约占三分之二。在断电10天后,终于有家庭陆续来电,但到目前为止,仍有900户停电停暖。尼克村居民中有近千名70岁以上的耆老。据《纽约时报》报道,101岁高龄的华裔谢太太,在寒冷的尼克村家中咳嗽不止,终在五天前不幸逝世。断电断暖给人们带来生活不便,但对老人来说,则更可能危及生命。88岁的崔奶奶告诉记者,前两天家里的手电筒没电了,她摸黑下楼买电池,在楼道里摔破了膝盖。还有独居老人在家中跌倒,但因停电,无法按电铃呼叫护工帮助。

在曼哈顿整体复电9天后,尼克村是仅存仍然断电的居民楼之一,而市长彭博却对数千居民的窘迫生活一无所知。彭博解释,个别楼宇的断电是因为电缆被洪水浸泡,贸然复电会引发爆炸,必须等专业工人修缮。但第二次来到尼克村慰问的市主计长刘醇逸认为,市府在华埠投入的救灾力度远远不够。

在采访中,记者感受到华人的达观、隐忍,没电没暖,但比起失去家园的纽约人,他们至少还有家;政府重视更需要帮助的社区,无可厚非。幸好,在最困难的时候有社区伸出援手。今天,慈济基金会、福建公所等机构向尼克村居民共派发一千份热食,让民众终于感受到一点温暖。

在采访中,大多数华人对艰难的生存环境仍然采取忍耐的态度。不过,随着寒冬的逼近,人们的耐心也在随着温度一起降低。(美国中文网 步凡 曹旋律 赵沐沕)
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