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Long Beach cleanup: 'We can't sit around'

In the West End of Long Beach, a series of small and narrow streets mostly lined with one and two-floor bungalows, a couple of boys tossed a football as their parents dragged debris from their water-soaked home to the curb for garbage pickup.

The garbage crews did show up, just as Roseann Chulbi, 49, of Arizona Street knew they would.

Four sanitation workers were dragging flood-damaged furniture from a huge curbside mound and loading the yellow garbage truck. With the workers making a small dent in the mound, which included loose boards, leather couches and a toilet, some neighbors — about four or five men — joined in, helping load the truck.

“We’re making some progress here,” Chulbi said, watching mound of debris, mostly from her two-story home, get smaller. “I knew the garbage men would show up. They always show up.”

Chulbi said she admired the workers, most of whom live in the city.

“You know, most of them live in Long Beach, and they’re helping us out, even though they got flooded out as well,” she said.

Chulbi’s home has a garage below ground level, and it filled up with water during the storm, she said. She is without power, she said. No lights, no water.

But she has natural gas and bottled water, so she and some other neighbors had hot coffee ready for most of the workers and some other neighbors.

Elsewhere on the block and some adjacent streets, there was the droning of portable gas-powered generators, hooked up to hoses and pumping water from homes.

“We got a lot more cleaning to do,” Chulbi said. She and her neighbors also were taking photographs for insurance purposes and waiting for instructions from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We gotta keep busy,” she said. “We gotta do what we can do. We can’t sit around.”

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