Rep. Grimm: Next stage of Sandy recovery will be ‘the hardest’

New York Rep. Michael Grimm (R) on Friday urged Americans to continue sending aid to those affected by superstorm Sandy, warning that the second stage of the recovery would be “the hardest.”

“Although the first stage is over, this second stage -- and there are several stages after it -- I think the second stage is the hardest because this is where we are going to really need volunteers or support the most,” said the lawmaker, whose Staten Island district was devastated by the hurricane, during an interview on CNN.

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“This storm is not over, it’s not even close,” said Grimm.

Sandy hit the eastern seaboard of the United States in late October killing over a 130 people and causing tens of billions in damage.

Grimm said that many displaced residents in New York City still needed to be moved out of shelters and into new housing. And the housing situation is likely to remain after authorities said this week that 200 homes would need to be demolished in the area.

“What I’m worried about is that people start to forget around the country and donations start to slow down and we can’t let that happen,” Grimm added.

The GOP lawmaker also said authorities should examine whether homeowners on the coast should be able to rebuild.

“I think the City of New York really has to look at the zoning and there are certain areas that I just think are dangerous,” he said.

Grimm said that barriers which often blunted the force of hurricanes and blocked rising tides had been eroded and that he would “hesitate” to rebuild on the shore, unless homes could adopt “hurricane standard” safety-measures.

“Now it is much more dangerous,” he said. “We’ve already started discussions on where we can build safely and what kind of zoning requirements.”

Grimm, though, said that despite the ongoing recovery, volunteer efforts on Thanksgiving had helpred raise the spirits of the battered community. 

“Personally it really honed in on what Thanksgiving is all about, to be grateful to be thankful for what you have,” said Grimm. “You see people have lost everything in their entire lives and some of these older people have amassed things over the years, their memories, their pictures, everything they’ve ever earned is gone.”