JAMAICA, Queens (PIX11) — Thursday marks one year since the 8.2 inches of rain — two months’ worth — fell in New York City in the course of about three hours.
The torrent, which were remnants of Hurricane Ida, took the lives of more than 40 people in the tri-state region, 18 of whom were from New York.
Leaders of the city and the state on Thursday pointed out different ways they’ve tried to assist communities through relief funding, grants, and loans.
However, even as some residents mourned family members, friends and neighbors they lost in the storm, they also criticized officials for not making more in-person visits to communities that are still trying to recover, a year later.
Amit Shivprasad is rebuilding his and his parents’ home, after Ida’s floodwaters washed away part of its foundation. Two tenants in the basement, Phamatee Ramskriet, 43, and Khrishah Ramskriet, 22, her son, lost their lives in the flooding.
“No one has come out talking to the homeowners who live out here,” Shivprasad said on Thursday.
His mother, Ramrattie Shivprasad, said that the anniversary is sad all around.
“I feel emotional because two lives were lost,” she said, “and we are out of our home for one year.”
At the ElmCor Community Center in Elmhurst, Queens on Thursday afternoon, Gov. Kathy Hochul joined Rep. Grace Meng, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and other elected officials to memorialize the 18 New Yorkers who perished in the floods. They also thanked residents and community groups who stepped up for their neighbors.
A theme of the event was that even though FEMA and the city’s Department of Housing, Preservation and Development have been able to provide relief funding and temporary housing for people affected by the floods, more still needs to be done.
Rep. Meng pointed out that in the Infrastructure Bill passed by Congress, New York’s $11 billion is only a fraction of what’s needed to help prevent future flooding, and to assist people who are still hurting.
“Let’s be clear,” Meng said, “our residents have not gotten what they deserve.”
For his part, Mayor Eric Adams was in South Ozone Park on Thursday morning, talking about the city’s infrastructure plans designed to mitigate flooding in the years ahead.
“The constant nurturing of our infrastructure is going to get us out of this problem,” said Adams.
He said that three innovations that the city is pursuing will help. Rain gardens — wide, curbside tree pits where water drains into them — can absorb 2,500 gallons of water each, according to designers. The city will have 11,000 of them in the next year. It already has more than 8,000 in flood-prone areas.
The city will also increase its network of flood sensors to warn communities when there’s a danger of heavy flooding.
Also, the city is investing in what’s called “blue belt” infrastructure. It specifically targets former wetlands that have been developed and built upon over the years, and plans flood control systems for that terrain.
The plan had at least one skeptic, Ragendra Shivprasad, who lost part of his home to Ida’s floods, and has only been able to start rebuilding now.
“It cannot work here,” he said, in spite of the city’s and state’s research showing that it should.