New York city’s Ellis Island, the place where millions of immigrants first touched US soil has at last reopened its museum.
For the past year its been closed due to the destructive force of Superstorm Sandy which destroyed the island’s electrical, communication, water and sewage systems.
For David Luchsinger who is Superintendent of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the reopening is a welcome development:
“It feels wonderful. It’s been a whole year I haven’t seen visitors here so it means the world to me. It means the world to my staff to be back and open again.”
Twelve months ago the storm tore through much of the New York and New Jersey shores killing at least 150 people and destroying , more than a half million houses..
One of those made homeless was Staten Island resident Carol Diaz who has only just been able to return home.
“It makes you realise that you’re not in control of everything. And you could always be in that place where you never thought you would be. And it could happen one night. It happened one night. One day we were perfectly fine and the next day we were homeless.”
But the Diaz family has been lucky. Thousands of others remain displaced. Volunteer groups have organised themselves to help in the massive rebuilding project – that is despite around $48bn in federal funds having been earmarked for disaster recovery.