(New York) 183rd Street in the borough of Queens is shaped like a funnel for two blocks with no bottlenecks. Flash floods are not uncommon there. But they had never proven fatal by Wednesday night.
Posted on Sep 3, 2021 at 5:00 am
Richard Hétu Special collaboration
“We were all inside, that’s all I have to say. We were all inside when it happened, ”said Dylan Ramskriet, whose mother Pramatee, 43, and brother Khriskah, 22, drowned in an apartment in the basement of a house in the hollow of the section.
What happened could be seen from the dried mud-covered street where the young man spoke briefly to some reporters on Thursday morning. Part of the outer wall of the two-story house where he lived with his family gave way under the pressure of the water.
“At the moment we saw [l’eau], we’ve already been pushed back, ”continued Dylan, who survived with his father Dameshwar, 44, thanks to the rapid intervention of the New York Fire Department.
“That’s all I have to say,” he repeated, red-eyed from crying and lack of sleep, before leaving the drama scene.
With their apocalyptic downpours, the remnants of Hurricane Ida in New York City broke all kinds of weather records, including 80mm of rain in one hour in Central Park, turning lanes into rivers swam by abandoned motorists, and laying New York’s U and S – Lanes lame.
But also in the American metropolis the tropical storm claimed a dozen victims, most of whom died like the Ramskriets, in legal or illegal basement apartments in the borough of Queens, where many immigrants lead their American lives.
The youngest of these victims was 2 years old. The oldest, 86.
The popular neighborhood where the Ramskriets lived is called Hollis. Ironically, it’s very close to Jamaica Estates, the upscale neighborhood where Donald Trump spent most of his youth.
The elite of New York’s political world gathered there Thursday morning to take stock of the storm and deliver a unanimous message on the urgency of investing in infrastructure and fighting global warming.
” What happened [mercredi] – trains stopped, people left -, […] I don’t want something like this to happen again, ”said New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, surrounded by Senator Chuck Schumer and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, among others.
The native Buffalo drew attention to one of the most famous tourist attractions in her corner of the country to illustrate the most dramatic and disturbing aftermath of Tropical Storm Ida.
“Flash floods are a reality in urban areas today,” she said. It’s not the waves of the ocean or the strait. These are sudden floods that come from the sky. It was literally Niagara Falls here, and I’ve been to Niagara Falls a thousand times. ”
For his part, Senator Schumer called on Congress to pass two bills aimed at mitigating the effects of tropical storms like Ida. One of the texts would free up $ 1 trillion for traditional infrastructure, while the other would fight global warming in part by halving CO2 emissions by 2030, he said.
“Woe to us if we don’t realize that these changes are due to climate change,” he said, noting that the one-hour rain record in Central Park was broken twice in eight days. “Woe to us if we don’t do something about it quickly. ”
A deadly storm
Ida will not only have been fatal in the Big Apple. At least 43 people were killed in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut on Wednesday night.
Many survivors considered themselves lucky to have escaped death.
“Thank God my father was awake,” said Samir Mujahidul, 15, who went to bed at 9pm on Wednesday after returning from Bangladesh with his two sisters and mother. “He woke us all up, then we all took our papers and went out. ”
Like the Ramskriets, whose close neighbors they were, Samir and his family lived in a basement apartment. On Thursday morning, they unhooked all of their clothes that had been submerged in the water the day before to dry them.
“Thank God we survived. Thank goodness we escaped at the right time, ”said the teenager as his father, Shail, who works in a Popeyes restaurant, watched. “But what about the others? ”
In the vicinity, MD Rahman did not consider himself so happy. The sudden flood ruined the engine of the car this Uber driver relies on for a living.
“I wanted to park it elsewhere, but my wife told me not to go out because it was too dangerous,” he said. “Now I don’t know what to do to pay my rent and support my family. I have three children and a wife. ”
I have the impression of going from one crisis to another. I barely survived the pandemic, and now this storm is coming. I do not know what to do.
MD Rahman, Uber driver
When asked where he lives, MD Rahman has no problem stating the location of the house in which he and his family live in a basement apartment.
“We live across from the house where two people drowned,” he said.