Staten Island Still Reeling from Sandy

Editor’s Note: The following Hurricane Sandy update is from Gennadiy Zavaliy, pastor of the House of Prayer Church in Brooklyn, New York. Pastor Zavaliy and many of his church members live on Staten Island. Two weeks after the devastating storm, thousands remain homeless or without power.

The needs are great

Staten Island was pummeled beyond recognition by Hurricane Sandy and suffered the highest death toll of all New York City boroughs. Among Staten Island’s victims were the two young brothers who were swept from their mother’s arms, a tragic story that was broadcast across the country. Yet days after the waters receded, residents feel ignored and forgotten.

In the shadow of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, dazed survivors roamed Staten Island’s sand-covered streets amid ruined bungalows sagging under the weight of water that rose to the rooftops. Their contents lie in the streets; mud-soaked couches, stuffed animals, and mattresses form towering piles of wreckage. Boats are tossed like toys on roadways.

Each House of Prayer church member has a story. Following are just a few.

Anzhela: I live in Brighton Beach. I stayed in my rented apartment because I had nowhere to go. Electricity went out in my area, and suddenly water began to fill the streets. When the water in my house rose to my chest, I climbed through a window to a tree. I was able to get on the roof, where I sat all night. Praise the Lord, I am alive.

Pastor Gennadiy Zavaliy: When we lost electricity, I said to my wife, “It is time to leave the house.” We prayed and went to the church, hoping to return in a couple of days. When the Verrazano Bridge reopened to the public, we found a terrible scene. It will be a long time before we can live in our home again. The water reached the ceiling of the first floor, destroying everything. We continue to have shelter in the church. Praise the Lord—there we have all necessities.

Natalia Golovina: On Monday, October 29, I went to work in Manhattan. Because public transportation was closed, no one could relieve me, and I had to work the whole week following the storm. I knew nothing about my house in the Sea Gate area of Staten Island until I returned a week later. I found my house without a roof; everything was gone. Now I live in House of Prayer Church.

There are many more testimonies like these. God saved the lives of many of His children. I pray that our brothers and sisters in Christ will come alongside us prayerfully and financially to help us get back on our feet. Thank you for your prayers and donations!

What you can do

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A special fund has been created to gather funds to spearhead immediate relief efforts. Give to the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund and help CAMA, the relief and development arm of The Alliance, support these needs.

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Make your check out to “CAMA” and write “Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund” on the memo line. Then mail your gift to Compassion and Mercy Associates, P.O. Box 35000, Colorado Springs, CO, 80935-3500

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Use your credit card and call toll-free (866) 443-8262 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (MST) to make your donation.

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