by Alice Kenny
Leaning on his black cane, Fujimoto Takashi, 64, struggles to pronounce words that convey the terror he felt the afternoon his basement apartment in Midland Beach, Staten Island, morphed into a whirlpool of chairs, refrigerator, motion and mementos.
Born in Hiroshima four years after the atom bomb was dropped there, Mr. Takashi already knew devastation first hand. He grew up believing, he said, that if he could make his way to the United States he would find a safe place where he could realize his dream of working as a photographer and thrive.
For a long time, his plan seemed to work. But then Hurricane Sandy struck and stole nearly all he had.
Electrocuted when the storm flooded his basement apartment, Mr. Taskashi lost his health and home.