Thursday, November 1, 2012
MAJOR screw up by Bloomberg administration
From the Huffington Post:
The staff and residents of at least five nursing homes on the coastal edge of this storm-battered city were told by New York officials to stay put in advance of Hurricane Sandy, even though the facilities were in a mandatory evacuation zone and are just blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, according to accounts of those who work and live there.
As a result, hundreds of disabled, handicapped and elderly residents watched fearfully as one of the most severe storms in the city's history roared ashore, sending brackish water surging into the first floor of their buildings, flooding lobbies, basements and -- crucially -- backup power generators.
"It was like Niagara Falls," said a worker at Rockaway Care Center on Tuesday afternoon who was standing outside the building, a few feet from a huge pool of standing water. The worker, who declined to give his name, pointed to the high water mark, about four feet up the lobby door.
Inside, the water had torn apart interior walls. Sandbags that had been piled up outside were split open, their contents strewn about the lobby.
So why didn't they evacuate before the storm? "Call the mayor's office," an official at the facility said. "We were told to stay."
The New York Office of Emergency Management did not return multiple calls or emails about the condition of the nursing homes, the status of the residents, or the decision not to evacuate prior to the storm.
It's not clear what happened to the residents of Rockaway Care Center, or another nursing home in the community, Horizon Care Center. The entire community is without power, water or any other services. Shops and restaurants are closed. Phone calls to the nursing homes weren't returned.
The Huffington Post confirmed that at least two Rockaway nursing homes -- Surfside Manor and Lawrence Nursing Care Facility -- were later evacuated to Brooklyn Technical High School, in a leafy neighborhood of brownstones near downtown Brooklyn, on Tuesday night.
These facilities are all in Zone A. Why wasn't everyone evacuated, especially considering the frailty of the population? Heads should roll over this.
After the storm, Bellevue and Coney Island Hospital were also evacuated.