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Rebuilding questions in the aftermath of Sandy

November 29, 2012 2:19:31 PM PST
Questions and confusion from some people living in New York City, whose homes and businesses were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. They're trying to figure out if they even can rebuild and if so, how?

On Staten Island, a couple blocks from the ocean, John Toto lost his restaurant. It's been in the family since the 1930's.

A block away, not much is left of his two-bedroom home, built back in the 20's.

"If I only lost one entity it would be obviously only half as difficult, okay? But to try to do two things at one time - the home and the business? It's just impossible," Toto said.

For now John's focusing on his business, but because the damage is called flooding only he has been offered $5,000 in insurance money. That's it.

He also has no idea how to rebuild. Neither do his neighbors. What rebuilding rules apply? Will the city permit putting the same structures right back where they were?

"I don't know what the answer is either. You know what I mean? We got a lot of people to get back on their feet," he said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was adamant on Thursday. He believes new rebuilding codes apply, but should sandy victims be given an exception?

"We would have to change the law. The building code is a law and you can't violate the law. So we have to change the law if we want to make an exception. And it's much too early to tell," Bloomberg said.

An emergency city committee is reviewing what codes should apply to rebuilding after all this damage.

For now, so many people are like Sabri Ihab. He has more to worry about than rebuilding to city code.

"I got no gas, got no electric. You know what I mean. I got no money," Ihab said.

On the positive side, a week after the storm passed a new daughter was born to Ihab. Her name is Sandy - a bright note in what remains a community now struggling with how to rebuild.

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