Wednesday, August 09, 2006



Dateline : Thursday, August 03, 2006

Dispatch: Disaster Meet a Disaster: NYC Residents Vulnerable

Dear Editor:
Two recent events have left us both disappointed and convinced that there is no acceptable response plan for any sort of disaster in New York City. I am referring to the Hurricane Preparedness meeting in Howard Beach and the debilitating power outage in Queens. The Hurricane Preparedness meeting hosted by the Office of Emergency Management on July 18 left hundreds of Howard Beach residents disappointed and dissatisfied with the city’s approach to the critical issue of disaster preparedness. Howard Beach and South Ozone Park residents are unsure what plans (if any at all) are in place to deal with a hurricane disaster. With the global weather changes in effect, these and other natural disasters should not be considered mere hypothetical scenarios. Specifics on the provisions outlined by the city are unknown and no one has stepped up to demand that the responsible agency address the concerns of the residents. Almost 30,000 residents in Howard Beach and South Ozone Park are at risk of evacuation should we meet with a Category 2 or higher storm, and officials failed to adequately inform the residents as to what is required of us, should we be forced to evacuate. This is totally unacceptable, and we, the residents, want to let them know that under no circumstances would we accept this. Make no mistake, Katrina can reincarnate here in New York City, and we must not be found wanting. We demand a disaster preparedness plan relevant to our circumstances. Another instance of grave concern is both Con Edison and the city’s response to the ongoing power outage in Queens. Residents lived in inhumane conditions, senior citizens had to search for insulin, sweltering families dehydrated, and all we hear from officials are calls for an investigation to be done when this crisis is over. Enough is enough. We collectively demand that disaster response plans be finetuned now! Our officials owe us nothing less than that.

Albert Baldeo





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