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Superstorm Sandy Aftermath
Aired November 5, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The water came so quick, it just took everything away. If you stood here, you were gone.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST (voice-over): I had to see for myself. So I went to Staten Island today. And even then as a medical doctor and physician, I could not believe the devastation, the anger, and the feelings of hopelessness.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to find a house for us. I need a place to live.
PINSKY: "Mob Wives`" Ramona Rizzo showed what happened to her neighbors, her community, her world.
Tonight, the Northeast is bracing for a new threat, dangerously cold temperatures and possibly another storm.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: We`re getting more and more stations open. I want to see what happens with the storm on Wednesday, to be candid.
PINSKY: What have millions learned about their friends, the kin kindness of strangers and themselves that might help them prepare for a second catastrophe?
Let`s find out right now.
PINSKY: Good evening from New York City.
Now, this is going to be a very interesting program, because Ramona Rizzo and I from VH1 "Mob Wives" had an emotional morning, touring the wreckage of Staten Island. There she and I are. She`s with me here in the studio tonight.
Ramona, first of all, thank you for being a great tour guide.
But here`s what I want to say. I thought I understood what was going on there, but when you go into these communities and there`s mile after mile of devastation, you walk into one home after another and hear these devastating stories. Ramona, I am overwhelmed.
How did you react to today?
RAMONA RIZZO, "MOB WIVES" STAR: I mean, I just kind of just left there just feeling helpless. I mean, overwhelmed at this point is probably just an understatement. One word had to describe going into this and finally leaving at the end of the day, it`s just the word helpless. You know, I feel very helpless for these people. I wish I could do more for them.
And really what did we do? We didn`t really begin to fight what we need to get into. This is something that`s going to take a lot of time which you saw with your own eyes.
PINSKY: And that`s something I want to get into throughout this show this evening. Listen, people have been amazing in terms of pulling together and getting through these few days, but this is not something that`s going to go away soon. There are thousands of people with nowhere to live. There is -- people have been great with clothing. That seems to be something most people have.
But the basements are still full of water. The temperatures are going to the freezing zone. And these things are going to freeze. The foundations are going to crack. The plumbing`s going to be done. And where are they going to live? There`s no plan going forward. And you and I saw that clearly.
RIZZO: Well, that was the main question. What`s the next step? Everybody wanted to know what do we do after this? You know, people are in shelters that are our schools, at our high schools. Those high schools need to get back to regular day life. Where are these people going?
There`s not enough housing on Staten Island to make these people set up normal life. You know, there`s kids that need to be relocated to schools. People -- one of their major concerns, what you said was, how am I going to pay rent and a mortgage on this house?
You know, the mortgage company doesn`t want to hear, hey, about this hurricane at this point. They said what was it, Dr. Drew? I`ll give you three months. But when three months is up, I need the past three months. The lady is like, I can`t get out of the circumstance, I can`t win.
You know, she was in tears in front of us. I didn`t know what to do for her. It was heart breaking.
PINSKY: Well, we`re going to look at some of that right now. We were standing -- this next footage you`re going to see, we were standing outside of a house that looked like Dorothy`s house. Like it had been picked up and moved. It actually a house floated --
RIZZO: Wizard of Oz.
PINSKY: Yes, Wizard of Oz. It was floated off its foundation and was in the neighbor`s yard. Their house was in the neighbor`s yard.
And this woman was up the street, this is the interior of many houses. This was actually a house that was doing rather well. They whipped everything out.
But there was a woman who was reliving her near-death experience. She ran up to us on the street. This is what most interiors look like what you`re seeing there.
But this woman came up on the street and just wanted somebody to hear her story. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: What`s going on?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We lost our house. The water came so fast.
PINSKY: Were you in this neighborhood?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Up the block.
PINSKY: Did you evacuate? Were you here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were here. We ruled out this year because of hurricane Irene and everybody came out and robbed us all. So, nobody left this year, because we didn`t want to get robbed.
PINSKY: Did you lose anybody? Did you know Jimmy?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I knew Jimmy. He got blown right out of the back of his house. The guy next door saved us. If he didn`t knock on my door, we`d all be dead.
PINSKY: How`d you get out?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had overnight bags packed in the truck and the kids were eating dinner. And he knocked on my door and said get out, the water`s coming.
RIZZO: How old are the kids?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fifteen, 14, and 11. And by the time we left the house, all we had to do was throw our clothes on. The water was up to our knees. Then we came down here and the water came all the way up. I can`t believe we got out.
And it just chased us down the boulevard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Yes. I`m going to see if we can get another story up just like that. This was a mom who got her kids out in a canoe. Remember that, Ramona? Do you guys have that video?
RIZZO: Oh my God. Thank God for that $20 canoe.
PINSKY: That`s right. They were improvising. The water went from their ankles to their neck they said in a matter of a few moments. Like two or three minutes. And thinking maybe the water was going to come, maybe they ought to get out of there. Then all of a sudden they are finding themselves with their 2-year-old and 4-year-old watching their neighbor with a 6-month-old.
Remember this, Ramona? Holding the 6-month-old over his head while he was under water.
I mean, this is the incredible thing about this. There are thousands of these stories. All the aerial views you see of Staten Island and New Jersey, you got to understand, people stayed behind because of fear of looting, because they didn`t believe it was going to happen. A lot of them were elderly and didn`t survive.
Let`s look at this quick story. It`s very similar to the woman you just saw.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I looked out and the water started to rise.
PINSKY: Right down the street here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was about to maybe right here at this point. So I said to my husband, you know, and my mother, I said I think it`s time we have to leave.
PINSKY: How old is your mother?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How old is she?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s 73.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I have a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old.
We said let`s wade out. Within minutes, it was 3/4 up the fire hydrant. My sister is across the street, I called my brother-in-law. They came, he found a boat or a canoe on the side of the neighbor`s house and put the life jackets on the kids. By then it was already up to my husband`s chest level.
PINSKY: So you couldn`t drive out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
So, my uncle and my cousin were running down. We were going up on the boat. They were coming to get us.
PINSKY: In the middle of the storm.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the middle of the storm.
PINSKY: We heard story after story like this.
Let`s talk to somebody in Staten Island right now.
Charles, you`re in Staten Island. What do you want to say?
CHARLES, CALLER FROM STATEN ISLAND: Yes. How are you doing, Dr. Drew?
I just want to say with everything going on, I`ve actually seen it. I lived it. I`ve been here. I saw it coming through my house.
My biggest thing is I want to know is where is this mayor? Where is the mayor on Staten Island coming to see actually what`s going on and how we`re living? No electricity, no gas, no nothing, no heat. And he`s nowhere to be found.
PINSKY: And let me tell you something. The people are -- I hope he goes out there. I hope he hears you, because the people are ready to respond to their leaders. If people are desperate for help, they want to be heard. We just saw story after story after story.
RIZZO: That was the problem, Dr. Drew. Everybody wanted direction. They said, where is the help?
CHARLES: The water`s coming in and how it`s coming in.
PINSKY: What`s that? Charles, where are you living now?
CHARLES: We`re living in the house. We have nowhere to go. So, it`s like, we got -- we have no choice but to stay there. OK?
PINSKY: And what`d you say about your son? You saw your son what?
CHARLES: My son`s 10 years old. He went through a panic like you wouldn`t believe. He said the water keeps coming. I had to try to calm him down, calm my wife down, calm my daughter down, until this blew through. And there was nobody around.
PINSKY: I know.
CHARLES: And to this day, we still have nothing. And there`s another storm coming in on Wednesday.
PINSKY: I know. Charles, that`s why we`re trying to tell this story tonight. We witnessed it. I see it. I feel your desperation.
I must tell you, I`ve got a psychologist on this show later and frankly I want him to help me, because I feel guilty not being out there trying to help you guys. It`s --
And, Ramona, let`s finish up with you. What do you want people to know about your home, your community? Before we go to break, we`ve got more footage, a lot more wild stories. But what do you want people to know about what`s going on and what you guys need?
RIZZO: I think everybody needs to know how this community really stood up for each other. Without this community all helping each other, I think there would have been so many more deaths.
We were the ones out there feeding each other. We were the ones giving each other water, medical supplies. We were there before FEMA. We were there before the Blue Cross.
You know, if it wasn`t for the community, the government really would have a lot more to answer for. And that`s what the people really want to know, Dr. Drew. What is the next step? They want direction. They want a leader to come forward.
They want an answer. People are sleeping in cars. I mean, you witnessed all this. You heard it. It was heartbreaking.
It happened, now what is some type of form of structure? There`s nothing there for these people. They`re broken.
You know, that poor lady she says, I never in my life, I worked hard, I paid my bills on time, I did everything proper. And here I am today looking through clothes for my children.
You know, she says it`s a humbling experience but in the same breath, how did we get here? What`s the solution? This is all they want. Where is the borough president?
PINSKY: And, Ramona, what`s the next step? But most importantly, hats off to the people of Staten Island. I`m sure, were folks in Staten Island --
RIZZO: Oh my God, amazing, amazing.
PINSKY: The way they pulled together. All the footage you`ll see coming through -- hopefully you have pictures that my wife took of the different, if you look, that says food and water and clothing all these. Right, you`ll see these tremendous outreaches that people were pulling together. If it were not for that, I don`t want -- I shudder what might have happened.
And Ramona and I are going to tell you a story, a rumor we heard about something also unbelievable. Maybe the death a lot toll higher than people know. I can`t substantiate this, but she`s heard something.
Okay more and I want to hear your stories as well. Again, the number is 855-373-7395. Be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: These are people`s lives out on the streets. That`s the thing that -- it just goes on and on and on. How many hundreds and hundreds of homes we passed.
RIZZO: Did you se where we passed earlier on the field that was basically a collection of everybody`s homes in a new little landfill there?
RIZZO: Sad, sad, sad.
PINSKY: Look, contents of the home.
RIZZO: Look how high. It`s just awful.
PINSKY: The other side of the street, same thing there. Wherever we look, each house has a story. We stop and talk to any of these people.
PINSKY: It would be a heart breaking story.
And it just goes on and on. But the theme we keep hearing, though, is the Staten Islanders supporting each other.
PINSKY: I am back from New York with Ramona Rizzo who was kind enough to show me around her hometown Staten Island today. And what you saw us walking through went on for miles like that. It was breathtaking.
Ramona, what about that rumor we heard? Do you think there`s anything to that?
RIZZO: I mean, at this point, Dr. Drew, how many times did we hear it? We heard it too many times. And who`s to really say?
But -- I mean, it has to be somewhat true. I don`t really believe that what was last count, 15 had died? I mean, every other day we`re finding more bodies. I mean, watching this right now it`s devastating.
PINSKY: Right. Cannot substantiate, but every time we started talking to somebody, they go, you know, we keep hearing there`s a school filled with far more bodies than we`ve heard yet. And the death count will soon go up quite a bit. So, we`re waiting to hear if that was true.
Now, here`s what I want to do. A lot of people or some people took matters into their own hands because there was concern about looting, which is one of the reasons people didn`t leave their homes. I want to show you some footage with a guy we spoke to with a guy taking matters into his own hands.
And I know Ramona had no trouble talking to him. But he scared me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIZZO: So what are they coming back to rob, these looters?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anything they can get their hands on.
PINSKY: Have you lost stuff already?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Down the block they tried. They tried, two looters tried but the cops I guess spooked them away.
PINSKY: I know it`s Staten Island, but is it legal to shoot somebody?
RIZZO: We have permits.
PINSKY: You have --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have permits, yes. Even if I didn`t have a permit --
RIZZO: You trespass, you get it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I mean, these are people`s lives.
RIZZO: You loot, you shoot.
PINSKY: Yes. If there`s nothing else, who`s going to protect you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: You can see Ramona was not the least bit disturbed by that. It bothered me.
RIZZO: No. But a lot of things did bother, you know, me in general a lot of things is bothering people in Staten Island in general. You know, the Blue Cross, call them the Red Cross, call them any -- call FEMA, call them any new name that you want at this point, the people are very frustrated because our own people were out there first.
So was the response what we wanted it to be? No. If it wasn`t for us getting out there and helping each other, this never would have been. You know, we would have had so many more bodies.
PINSKY: Yes, it would have been a lot worse.
PINSKY: Well, and by the way I`m worried that they`re --
RIZZO: I can`t watch this. It`s hard.
PINSKY: Yes, I know. This was -- going through this again it`s like post-traumatic stress for us, having walk through it and then watching it again.
But I want to show some footage --
RIZZO: It`s just frustrating, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Well, I want to show the frustration. This is the part of the story I don`t think people get is I think you have the footage in the control room of a guy I was speaking to in his house who didn`t -- could not figure out how he was going to bail himself out of this situation. He was not getting answers from FEMA. He was not getting answers from local authorities.
Do you guys have that footage? Can you guys show me that? Yes. Let`s roll that tape.
PINSKY: Did everything just float back here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Water picked everything up and throw it exactly how you see it. There`s still water in the basement.
PINSKY: So, there`s water here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can see the water level. How far.
PINSKY: Yes, to my chest.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, it wasn`t here when they left. When I left it was a little lower. I wasn`t here, I was working. I guess --
PINSKY: What he said what he knew (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. Yes.
PINSKY: Oh, my gosh. I am so sorry.
PINSKY: That is actually the relative of the guy who carried his 6- month-old out over his head. That wasn`t the tape I was looking for.
I want to warn my viewers that we are actually -- Ramona and I left the island a few hours ago and we`re having to bring the footage in and have it edited while we are live on air here. So, I apologize if we -- and the stuff that occurs to me that I want to show and we`re trying to get to as quickly as we can.
Do we have that footage of the guy in the house with the mask expressing his frustration?
OK. Let`s air that right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I came back on Tuesday on the street up the block was eight feet high.
PINSKY: The water was eight feet high?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
PINSKY: On Tuesday?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over here, yes. You couldn`t get. I have the video on my phone, my cousin Jimmy lives up the block. He`s about 80 years old. He stayed.
PINSKY: Jimmy died.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jimmy Rossi (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tried to get him on Tuesday with a kayak. The son told me he found him underneath these barriers that they have at the beach. I said, yes, I used them to go around them so he must have been underneath me.
We lost another neighbor on this block too. So two people in this little area. She stayed too.
PINSKY: Older person?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
PINSKY: Was there just no one to evacuate them?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The water came so quick, just took everyone away. You know? If the homes, if you stood here, you were gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: That obviously was not the footage I was looking for, but that was another dramatic story. Again, there`s a theme there with the people who lived on that island most of their lives. They were elderly. They`d seen it before. They didn`t believe it was going to happen to them and pow, devastation.
Danielle in Staten Island -- what you got, Danielle?
DANIELLE, CALLER FROM STATEN ISLAND: Dr. Drew, thank you for having me.
PINSKY: My pleasure.
DANIELLE: I`m a 9/11 survivor. I`ve been through trauma. And this town needs answers. Just like what Charles was saying, there`s just no government here to help the people of the city.
And what Ramona was referring to if it wasn`t for the community, this town would just be -- it`s our hurricane Andrew. No one knows where to go from here.
PINSKY: And to explain that a little bit more, because I think that`s what people have trouble understanding, is that you`re surviving. You`re in a car or you`re in your house without any power and you have no idea when this is going to end or how.
DANIELLE: There`s no light at the end of the tunnel.
PINSKY: Yes. That`s what`s hard about this.
Now, the guy I was looking for, Ramona -- this is the stuff in every street. It just goes on. They`re just pulling people`s, their worldly belongings are being carted away by bulldozers. That`s what`s going on right now.
Ramona, the part I was trying to get was the guy who was complaining about not knowing whether FEMA would be able to give him a loan, they wouldn`t guarantee it, the loans were offering with higher than the bank would offer, who also wouldn`t guarantee loans. And they had no understand how --
RIZZO: He said he supposedly made too much money.
RIZZO: He said that he didn`t know if he made so much money. Him and his wife work for Con Edison. We don`t know if we qualify.
You remember the same gentlemen that the insurance company told him do not take anything out of your home and he left all the mold. He`s like they told me they`ll be here in a week. We went to other homes and they started ripping the mold out because they didn`t want their house to be in further disarray.
So which one do you listen to? Do you do your own type of demolition or do you listen to the insurance company? And you don`t have an answer of who`s going to pay your bill. Oh, you don`t have flood insurance, oh, call FEMA, call home insurance.
These people are getting the runaround. Where is he sleeping, Dr. Drew? In his car.
PINSKY: Right. He was sleeping in his car with his wife who went down -- spent two hours on the phone trying to get answers, then went down to FEMA.
As I recall the story she said she was having a panic attack, appropriately, and was told she needed to take care of her mental health first which may be true.
But there`s really -- there needs to be -- and the FEMA people we met were really lovely. They were, but there were not a lot of answers for people. This was that particular house, in fact.
All right. More with Ramona. More with your calls.
And later in the show a New York first responder finds himself and his family on the other end of disaster.
And a psychologist joins us in the next segment to help me and Ramona out with what we`re feeling. Be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife is having a nervous breakdown.
PINSKY: Of course.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Instead of cleaning up more, she has to be on the phone for two hours trying to get a piece of paper.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re not -- the only council -- the only man -- the only politician that came to this house or to this block was Councilman James Arnold. Tell them what they told you. They told her to go see a psych.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They told me to see a psychiatrist and get medication.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You sat on the line how long?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Waiting on the line for an hour and a half.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: What you can`t appreciate from that footage is the sewers had come up through their drains and it reeked of that. Their floors were warped and covered with mud. That woman was sitting on a muddy floor and all of their belongings floated to the back of the house. Everything else was out on the street.
Ramona, I look at that footage. I`m looking at both of us when that was -- the way we were behaving there. That was late in our day and I think we both had trouble even listening to another story. We`d heard so many by that point.
RIZZO: There`s so many different stories and there`s so one more than the other heart breaking. But like now I`m watching it, and I know you dealt with this with so many patients of yours. I`m getting angry now.
You know, they just said, oh, we need to write her a prescription now. I think I need medication for my anger issues right now. Like this is -- this is out of control.
That poor family was being juggled from place to place. She`s -- like he said, she`s sitting on the phone for two to three hours not getting an answer. Where are the politicians? Where`s the mayor? Where`s anybody down there?
I mean, I`ve never seen it like this. These people are lost.
We`ve got a ton of calls from Staten Islanders. But joining me now is licensed clinical psychologist David Swanson.
David, so I watch myself having sort of an emotional burnout on that footage. I remember standing there and going, oh my God, I don`t know if I can -- I don`t know what to do. I feel overwhelmed. I feel fatigued.
I feel guilty for being on Manhattan Island, not on Staten Island. This must be common for first responders.
DAVID SWANSON, PH.D., LICENSED CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I think it is. You walked right into a feeling and a situation of desperation. I mean, this is a crisis. And it`s so overwhelming, it`s beyond either one of you.
So what do you do about this? Inside, you`re dying to do something, but you know that you can`t. And I think that is what leaves you kind of pumped up and agitated like you were saying, Ramona. Or also feeling guilty, like you were talking about, Drew. You want to do more but you just can`t. It`s too big.
PINSKY: Yes, it`s got -- and this is got to be common, probably for the people from the community out there trying to help. It just keeps going. It`s never ending.
Let`s talk to Stephanie in New York -- Stephanie.
STEPHANIE, CALLER FROM NEW YORK: Hi, Dr. Drew. Thank you for having me.
PINSKY: Hi, Stephanie. Sure thing.
STEPHANIE: I understand the frustration levels. I live in Fort Wadsworth, which is about a half a mile from South Beach and the area that`s affected. The marathon starts on my block. And they have about 1,500 port-a-potties in the park (INAUDIBLE) and in the Army days that are not being utilized.
These people have nowhere to go to the bathroom. We`ve taken families in. It`s a disgrace no one have helped these families. There are port-a- potties lined up there.
PINSKY: We even heard a plan to open a prison to help --
STEPHANIE: They should. Other --
PINSKY: Well, it`s the state though.
STEPHANIE: And they should have them --
PINSKY: Right, but the -- the city is looking into that. But the state is the one in charge of it unfortunately.
Oh, Ramona. This is -- I`ve got to go to another break.
RIZZO: -- has somebody else in charge. Where`s the president? Where`s the people? I mean, sitting here and then as a mother of four, what gets me the most is we lost children. Children died. The girl that was 13 years old, she went to school with my daughters.
PINSKY: Ramona, stop. I`ve got to go to break. I`m going to have you -- I`m going to tell that story. I`m holding it in my hand. When we get back from this break -- we`re going to keep this conversation going. Be right back.
PINSKY: In addition to seeing the amazing outpouring from the community, another bright spot we witnessed today was the National Guard landing. This was literally just as we walked outside or we drove about a block out of the neighborhood that was underwater during the storm.
And we witnessed drop-offs of troops and more troops, and the man power is extremely, extremely warranted. I mean, they need help. Now, Ramona, before the commercial break, you were starting to tell a story about your daughters` 13-year-old friend. And this is -- you know, I`ve kept Dr. Swanson around for both of us.
So, our PTSD doesn`t get too out of hand. They -- the dad and the 13- year-old were killed. Tell us about this tragedy.
RAMONA RIZZO, TOURED DEVASTATION WITH DR. DREW TODAY: There was a family in (INAUDIBLE) that this girl, she was 13, she went to school with my two daughters who are 13 and 12. And they stood behind, Dr. Drew, because they didn`t want to get robbed. This happened once before. We had a hurricane. We had bad weather. Their home got robbed.
So, the parents said, you know what, we`re just going to wait it out and we`re just going to fight off the looters or whoever is going to come to rob us. And basically, the mom is the only survivor. The mother, she remembers everything that took place. Her child was ripped from her arms, and the girl died, her husband died.
PINSKY: She has nothing now.
RIZZO: She has nothing left.
PINSKY: -- an ad. I`m holding the ad. I want to put it up -- can you, guys, put it up? There it is. Patricia lost her husband, George, and 13-year-old daughter. She does not have any money to bury her loved ones. This is how desperate things are. Nowhere to live, nowhere to eat. The eating and clothing, the community and the outreach has taken care of a bit.
RIZZO: Were (ph) good. Yes.
PINSKY: But nowhere to live and not enough money to power the home, get an electrician in there to turn the power on, to get a plumbing service in there to help out with the sewage that`s all over the bathrooms now. David, is there anything about the -- this experience, Dr. Swanson, that helps people -- that they can do to deal with the fact that this is a marathon and not a sprint.
DAVID SWANSON, PH.D., LICENSED CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes. I think, right now, we`re in crisis mode. Look, Drew, I can tell you exactly what to do to help people make it past the trauma, but there are people who are still currently struggling like, for example, you`re talking about, you know, the people dealing with sewage issues and everything else.
You`ve got to get past that to start to work on recovering emotionally. I think for you guys to tour this area and to walk away traumatized as a result of that, I mean, it certainly stands to reason that the trauma there for everyone else enduring it is far much more worse.
PINSKY: Right. That`s right. And Ramona, you`d remarked how interesting it was how they all -- the people on the island reached out to us, that they wanted to interact. They needed that contact. So, again, I guess I would encourage people --
RIZZO: They thought you would have an answer. I mean, we`re not the ones that should be there answering these questions. This is why it`s so important. We need politicians down there. We need the mayor. We need direction. You know, we`ve lost so much. We`ve lost lives. So, shouldn`t we have these people like knowing there`s going to be some type of light that they`re going to be focused on seeing?
Now, where are they going? Where are they sleeping? It`s going to be cold. We`re going to have another storm a day from now. Where`s the answer? Where`s the preparation?
PINSKY: That is the scary part about what`s coming here. It`s going to get cold -- it was cold for you and I just out in the sun today. Margaret in Staten Island, Margaret, you want to ring in here?
MARGARET, STATEN ISLAND: Yes, I`m here. How are you?
PINSKY: Go ahead.
MARGARET: I just want to say, like, I live on Staten Island and we need help, like, these people are suffering and it`s terrible. I had to go today to buy a little girl a pair of shoes. She didn`t have a pair of shoes to go to school in. And it`s terrible. Like, I don`t understand why FEMA can`t bring in the trailers? Like, where are the trailers? Why can`t they bring --
PINSKY: Maybe they`re coming. I don`t know -- it`s one of the interesting things we found is a lot of people are being told, well, just go online or just call. There`s no online when you don`t have a computer and you don`t have electricity and you don`t have phone.
And it`s maybe miles away and it`s cold out and you`re trying to deal with food and clothing right now to go online which sounds like such a simple thing for all of us, for these people was overwhelming.
Florine in New York. Florine, are you there? Florine?
FLORINE, NEW YORK: Yes. Hi.
PINSKY: Am I pronouncing your name, right? Go right ahead.
FLORINE: Yes. Hi, Dr. Drew. Yes. I`m calling because I heard you talking about the rumor with the death toll. And, I`m here on Staten Island and I live on the other side. You know, I went over there yesterday to help out, to hand out any supplies I could in the streets. And you know, what`s out there that is the death toll is much higher than what -- and there`s people on, you know, on Twitter and Facebook and asking did you see my loved ones, did you see my friends.
And there`s no information given out. If you could find people and if they have bodies that are unidentified, let the public know so people can go there, maybe identify these people. And it`s just so unfair. And I totally (ph) understand. Thank you, Ramona. I really appreciate everything You and Dr. Drew did out there. And just we need answers. We need answers for everything out here.
PINSKY: Yes. It`s a very helpless feeling. Michelle, you`re in New York as well. Michelle, what do you want to say?
MICHELLE, NEW YORK: Hi, Dr. Drew. I live in the Bronx, and I`m very upset because where I live we didn`t have any evacuation or flooding or electricity that went out. But I have friends that live, like, in City Island (INAUDIBLE) and also, like, edge water park. where is the politicians? Where`s the help?
My friend`s mom, her home was demolished. It went right into three other homes from the water. They can`t even call. They can`t get online. They have no cell phone service, no electricity, no food. They can`t get gas. And, you know, they`re crying to me. I`m able to call in. That`s why I`m calling in, because we don`t know what to do for them.
And it`s heartbreaking about Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn. My heart goes out to everyone, but my friends are suffering here in the Bronx and it`s like no one cares.
PINSKY: Michelle, I got to tell you. Michelle, you have summarized the feeling that Ramona and I left Staten Island with today. And I thank you for pointing out that it`s not just Staten Island. There are many areas. I hate to blame politicians because this is a monumental job, but there certainly is a call to action here for at least a structure.
If somebody could just show these folks what they can expect going forward, even if it`s two months out and they`re afraid to say that, oh my God, we may not be able --
RIZZO: They just want to see a face. They want to see a person. We want somebody to come out there and speak to us. That`s all we want.
PINSKY: Yes. Ramona --
RIZZO: How many days has it been?
PINSKY: Ramona, this story, I doubt, has ended. Ramona, thank you for the tour today. Thank you for welcoming me to your community.
RIZZO: Thank you for coming.
PINSKY: I was deeply, deeply moved by the experience. Dr. Swanson, stay with me, I may need you yet through the show.
Coming up, I`ve got a former Navy SEAL on surviving a disaster. And next, we will talk to this incredible woman. She`s been called the angel of water.
PINSKY: Matt Long is a retired New York City firefighter and was a first responder on 9/11. Last week, floods and fire destroyed his breezy point Queens community. There it is. Matt, oh, my goodness. How are you and your family doing?
MATT LONG, RETIRED NEW YORK FIREFIGHTER, LOST HOME: Not too bad, Dr. Drew. Thanks for having me on.
PINSKY: Your attitude is good. You`re making me feel better. How do you maintain a positive attitude? I`ve seen what people lose. They lose their wedding pictures, the pictures of their family. And as you know, all your neighbors lost the same thing. How do you keep such a positive attitude?
LONG: You know, I guess when you face with some kind of tragedy like this you have to try to look for the positive. You have to try to look for a sign. You know, I just had one the other day. My neighbor, Kathy Brenan (ph), her son was digging through the rubble and found her engagement ring from her late husband. So, there`s signs everywhere. You just got to keep looking for them and try to keep moving forward.
PINSKY: You know, one of the women my viewers saw earlier on in a taped piece was saying that her kids, they lived a nice life. And now, they have perspective on that. She said one of her kids said to her, jeez, we really did have a lot. And now, their house is just gone. So let`s talk about why people don`t leave.
What do you think that`s all about? I`ve heard a lot about fear of looting. Is that it? Or is it just denial or is it bravado?
LONG: I think it`s a mixture of all three. You know, I think, you know, it`s sad that in this life, we have to lock our doors. It`s sad that when we`re asked to leave because of our own safety that we`re afraid that someone`s going to come and steal from us. That`s not the world that I want to live in. But it`s a fact. It happens.
There`s evil in this world, and I guess, it has a place. But I think a lot of people just said hey, you know, let`s roll the dice. You know? We gamble. And that`s what people did. And unfortunately, in Staten Island, it was pretty bad, life wise, at breezy point. Luckily, so far, we`re still at a zero for fatalities, and that`s just amazing.
PINSKY: In your case, did you get your kids out on time or did you have a dramatic story of your own?
LONG: No. Nothing dramatic. You know, I was a first responder and I listen to the warnings. So, we left on Sunday evening. And probably about, you know, 24 hours a little early, but we left and sought refuge at my brother`s house. And we got out. I know a handful of people that decided to stay and protect their property thinking that it wouldn`t be too bad. And luckily, they all got out.
PINSKY: What happened to your home?
LONG: You look at those pictures, one of them is mine. It burned to the ground. Everything we own is gone. I`m here on the show in donated clothes for the first time in my life. That`s not a good feeling.
PINSKY: No. And you have how many kids?
LONG: Three. Three little girls.
PINSKY: And are they okay? Did they react badly to this? Do they understand what`s going on?
LONG: You know, the 10 and eight-year-old, I think, they have a good perspective. Their mom does a great job with them. And, they have a good perspective of what`s happening, that this was a tragedy and that we only lost things. We`re all alive. We`re all healthy. And we can get these things back some day.
PINSKY: That`s a great note, Matt. Thank you for joining us. And of course, good luck to you and your family. We`re going to take a quick break here. When we`re back, I`m going to speak to somebody who`s an expert in preparedness, what to do if a disaster strikes, a former Navy SEAL with lifesaving advice for you and your family after this.
PINSKY: A superstorm, and now, a potentially crippling nor`easter. None of us are immune to disaster. So, we all need to be prepared. You`ve heard me on this program say this before as it pertains to almost anything that happens in life. Don`t ever say not me, not my kids, it can`t happen to me. Cade Courtley is a former Navy SEAL and author of "SEAL Survival Guide." Cade, what do we say to Sandy survivors now facing a nor`easter?
CADE COURTLEY, FORMER NAVY SEAL: You start off with the mindset that I survived sandy, but it`s not over. There`s more to come, but I`ve made it this far. So, what are you going to do? And something like this, I keep hearing people say where`s leadership, where`s the help? Assume that`s not going to happen.
So, you need a form groups. And from these kind of catastrophes, leaders emerge. Whether you`re in charge of a home, a group of homes, an entire block, come together as a group and help each other out.
PINSKY: Cade, that is fantastic advice, because that`s what I was seeing happening spontaneously in Staten Island. Each neighborhood -- the police were actually very present and they were now protecting against looting. And you were seeing neighborhood and businesses and residential environments.
People coming together and support one another. But, I think behind that is fear, because it`s getting cold. And it`s not clear where it`s going to end. So, how do you withstand the uncertainty of, oh my gosh, how much longer is this going to take?
COURTLEY: Look, strength comes in group in these things, OK? Everybody in a situation like this as an individual will find that they`ve hit the wall and they need help. When you`re in a group, rarely will an individual or some of these individuals hit that wall at the same time. Rely on each other, OK?
I remember when 9/11 happened. People were rushing to ground zero. New Yorkers, your new ground zero is Staten Island. Get down there and help these people out. Bring them to the home. Bring them to an extra room. Do whatever you can. Just remember this, life before property always.
You might lose a TV, but I just heard a story about losing a husband and a daughter. Which one do you think is going to really matter at the end of the day?
PINSKY: These are extremely, extremely important points. In fact, those -- having been down there to have that kind of frame. That`s the kind of frame people need. Just those sorts of tidbits can help withstand the uncertainty of all this. Ashley in New Jersey, Ashley, you want to say something to us?
ASHLEY, NEW JERSEY: Yes. I live right outside of Seaside Heights. I live in toms River. And, you know, Sandy hit us directly. They`re calling us ground zero. Seaside is no longer seaside. It`s washed away. And, Dr. Drew, I`m so scared about this next storm because we haven`t had no power.
There`s so much destruction. I`ve lived in Toms River my whole life. I`ve never seen anything like this. And now with this storm coming, how do we protect ourselves? We`re already called ground zero.
PINSKY: OK. Ashley, hang on the line. Cade, you`re with me on Skype. I want you to answer her question. I think that, sometimes, it`s just having something to hang your hat on, a structure to go forward with is enough or a plan at least. So, let`s come back with that. Be right back.
COURTLEY: All right.
PINSKY: I hope you were watching. Before the break, Ashley was desperate for an answer. Cade, answer that question.
COURTLEY: Ashley, here`s what you`ve got to do. And I would say this to anybody in that situation. Take a couple of minutes and figure out what the most important thing in your life is and let that burn in, whether it`s a child, or parents, or what have you. And then, go about your day in little tiny increments.
From sunrise to noon, from noon to sundown, from sundown to sunrise, and each time you hit one of those things, you`ve made it that much closer to getting out of the situation. And when you start having problems, think about that thing that`s that important to you.
PINSKY: Ashley, does that help? One brick at a time, my dear. One brick at a time and cling to the things that really matter.
ASHLEY: Yes. And you know, the hardest thing is that the death toll right now is over a hundred people in this area.
PINSKY: And hopefully -- Ashley, I want to check in with you tomorrow night. Get Ashley`s number. We`re going to see how she`s doing tomorrow. We will check in with you. Thank you to Cade Courtley. His book is called "SEAL Survivor Guide" and available early next month, I beg your pardon.
Also, Ramona Rizzo, thank you so much for showing us around Staten Island. David Swanson, Matt Long, all of you who called. Thanks for watching us. And a reminder, Nancy -- oh, vote tomorrow, by the way. And Nancy Grace starts right now.