Climate crisis and migration: Greta Thunberg supports International Organization for Migration (IOM) over ‘life and death’ issueRead more United Nations (UN) Convenes Lake Chad Countries, Amid Growing Regional CrisisRead more 11 Disruptive Startups Selected for Cohort 3 of the Africa Startup Initiative Program (ASIP) Accelerator Program powered by Startupbootcamp AfricaRead more Africa Data Centres breaks ground on new Sameer facility in NairobiRead more Coffee with a human face: A union that improves livelihoods for Ugandan farmersRead more Trends Predicted to drive the retail industry in 2023Read more Vantage Capital exits Pétro IvoireRead more Afrobarometer charts path for Round 10 surveysRead more Unified communication and collaboration trends for 2023 (By David Meintjes)Read more 2023 starts with BIG IMPACT on Bizcommunity!Read more

‘Heartbroken’ New Yorkers count cost of devastating rainfall

show caption
A person sweeps up debris in the front of a brownstone after the extremely heavy rainfall from Hurricane Ida on September 2, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York City./AFP
Print Friendly and PDF

Sep 03, 2021 - 08:58 AM

NEW YORK — New Yorkers mopped up flooded homes and businesses and began removing fallen debris from crushed cars Thursday as they counted the cost of record rainfall that caught much of the Big Apple by surprise.

Under piercing blue skies that belied the carnage of just a few hours earlier, shocked residents surveyed the damage of a chaotic night that left at least nine people dead in the city and killed several more in outlying areas.

“I honestly feel heartbroken,” said Marcio Rodrigues, at his destroyed car repair shop in the New York suburb of Mamaroneck, where several clients’ cars were ruined.

“This was my dream. And I feel like I lost it all right now,” he told AFP, crying.

A short distance away, electrical contractor Jim Lanza’s ground-floor office was full of mud after water rose 7-feet high.

“It’s pretty devastating,” he said, adding that the water took about seven hours to recede.

Nearby, Jeannsie Silva Barrios recalled a sleepless night as the owner of her house pumped water from her basement.

“I was really scared. My husband had to wake up at like four o’clock in the morning just to see the water, how it was going,” she said.

A few miles south, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Jonas Sigle eyed the wreckage of his car outside his home.

“A ten-ton tree just fell on my car. My car’s crushed. It’s totaled,” he told AFP.

“Wow, this was just unbelievable,” said his neighbor, Michael Price.

Record rainfall of 3.15 inches (80 millimeters) fell in Central Park in just an hour, breaking a record set last month during Tropical Storm Henri.

Nearby, Metodija Mihajlov inspected the basement of his restaurant, which was flooded with three inches of water late Wednesday.

“When the rain started to get bad, my guys called me and we decided to close the restaurant and turn off the electricity and everybody left,” he said.

“I’ve never seen that much rain ever,” added the 50-year-old. “It was like living in the jungle, like tropical rain.

“Luckily nothing was damaged. As soon as the rain stopped the water drained away,” Mihajlov told AFP.

The flooding reignited memories of Hurricane Sandy, a more powerful storm that knocked out power for much of Manhattan and flooded subways in 2012.

Many residents posted videos on social media that showed water cascading down stairs and into apartments.

In Brooklyn, Rebecca Stronger was mopping up water from the basement and first floors of her veterinary clinic.

“We all show up, we all clean and we all get our job done,” she told AFP.

‘Hearts ache’

Stronger said she expects more storms in the future as the surface layer of oceans warms due to climate change.

“Of course. Everybody knows (about) climate change. The world is exploding on so many different levels. I expect it to happen a lot,” she added.

The New York Police Department said nine people had died, eight of them trapped in basements and one in a car.

They were aged between two and 86 and were found mostly in flooded locations in Queens.

“Our hearts ache for the lives lost in last night’s storm,” tweeted Mayor de Blasio, who declared a state of emergency late Wednesday.

“Please keep them and their loved ones in your thoughts today.  They were our fellow New Yorkers and to their families, your city will be there for you in the days ahead,” he added.

MAORANDCITIES.COM uses both Facebook and Disqus comment systems to make it easier for you to contribute. We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. All comments should be relevant to the topic. By posting, you agree to our Privacy Policy. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, name-calling, foul language or other inappropriate behavior. Please keep your comments relevant and respectful. By leaving the ‘Post to Facebook’ box selected – when using Facebook comment system – your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the Facebook comment box to report spam or abuse. You can also email us.