We cannot allow New Yorkers to drown

Hurricane Ida hit NYC last night and the city was not prepared. At least 15 people died in the NYC metro area. Nine were NYC residents, eight of whom were in Queens, all of whom were in basement apartments, including a two-year-old. Last week’s record rainfall from Tropical Storm Henri was surpassed last night — from 8:51 to 9:51pm NYC saw the heaviest rainfall in it’s history. Some newscasters claim that Hurricane Ida caused more damage than Sandy in parts of the city.  

Extreme weather will be more frequent. The science and research tells us this and the constant storms we endured this summer are an indication of what’s to come. We can no longer allow New Yorkers living in basement apartments to drown. 

We need leadership that won’t just cross their arms and say “stay safe” or “stay indoors” while we have MTA workers and EMTs putting their lives on the line to save stranded people. Where were the evacuation plans for flood zones? Where was the preventative planning to get home safely before the MTA shut down?  

Cathy Rojas, the socialist candidate for mayor, connects the climate crises with housing and people-driven solutions. “In addition to the flooding, last night, the state legislature voted to extend the eviction moratorium until January 15, 2022, at the same exact time homeless folks, people sleeping in cars and in overcrowded basements were facing a life or death situation. Housing must be a guaranteed right for all people and last night’s storm is evidence of this. 

“We need a civil relief corps with a core of paid workers alongside volunteers to be activated for moments like this. We need strong neighborhood organizations, funded by the city, that already know who is vulnerable in the area and who needs help. We need a unit of people that is well funded and equipped with water pumps, snow shovels, and whatever is needed for the multiple crises the city faces each season. 

“We need to unleash people-led creative solutions in addition to the speeding up of mass infrastructure projects to build out the underground sewer pipes and clearing the clogged subway drains. The city already has an infrastructure plan, but it’s a decades long project. We don’t have that long.”