10 years after Hurricane Sandy, they warn that New York City is not prepared to respond to natural disasters

On Saturday, October 29, ten years have passed since the Hurricane Sandy devastated various parts of the Big Apple, leaving 44 muertos and thousands of victims, and an estimate of $19 billion in damage. And as a preamble to the sad anniversary of the tragedythe State Comptroller’s Office has just released a report, warning that New York City is not prepared to respond to similar natural disasters.

The report of Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, submitted following an audit to the New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYCEM), highlighted that there is “poor oversight and poor management of emergency response efforts.” risk mitigationoperational continuity plans and evacuation plans”.

The official mentioned that it is urgent that the City of New York prepare itself to be able to provide a better management of eventual catastropheswhich cannot be ruled out.

“It is not a question of if, but when another massive storm like Sandy will spank New York City, potentially crippling its infrastructure and endangering lives,” DiNapoli said. “The City needs to be ready, but inadequate coordination and limited centralized oversight of the City’s disaster preparedness is very concerning.”

DiNapoli made a call to the City Office of Emergency Management (responsible for coordinating emergency planning) to take into account the audit considerations, in order to take measures and take actions to avoid unnecessary damage that may be preventable.

And it is that despite the fact that the Office of Emergency Management has developed long-term strategies, such as the Risk Mitigation Plan (HMP) of 2019, which is in force for five years, and which, according to the State Comptroller’s Office, has 755 hazard mitigation actions, have serious concerns.

The office of DiNapoli found that “412 of those mitigation actions, which are equivalent to 55% of the plan, did not have completion dates, so it is not clear if the work was completed; and 403 (53%), did not have start dates, so it is not clear if the work had started”.

In addition, the audit findings revealed that 281 mitigation actions by the Office of Emergency Management did not have a cost estimate.

“When auditors compared HMP data for 10 projects with documentation provided by agencies, they found significant differences in cost estimates, start dates, and completion dates. A city agency’s estimated cost to protect critical electrical systems exceeded HMP’s estimated cost reported at $737 million. A stormwater drainage plan was included in the HMP at a cost of $360 million, but the agency said its cost was $582.9 million,” the report noted.

The audit also found failures in project compliance, which he highlighted as worrisome.

“Regarding a mitigation action on accessibility to evacuation centers, the completion date was set on April 15, 2019, but it was still not completed more than three years later. Another one for interim flood protection measures was expected to be completed by June 30, 2021however, the project was still ongoing more than a year later,” the report noted.

The document concluded by raising alarm bells, as it warns that inaccuracies in the municipal HMP and the lack of oversight by the NYCEM office “reduce the agency’s awareness of whether or not the City’s disaster preparations are progressing.

the assemblyman Khaleel M. Anderson, from one of the areas most affected by Sandy, asked NYCEM to review the concerns of the State Comptroller’s Office and develop a better logistical capacity in the face of eventual natural disasters, since he warned that preparation makes substantial differences.

“As a survivor of Superstorm Sandy, I know firsthand how important emergency preparedness and disaster response are to coastal communities like Far Rockaway”, assured the politician. “A decade after Sandy, it seems the City has done nothingby presenting a poor evacuation plan and building little capacity, which could lead to untold losses when the next disaster strikes.”

At press time, neither the Adams Administration nor the Office of Emergency Management of the City ruled on the findings made by the State Comptroller’s audit.

However, last week the Adams Administration presented a plan to reduce the risk of flooding in Lower Manhattan. Deployable walls and barriers will be installed that will be activated in the event of a storm.

Leave a Reply