Queens homeowners protested three weeks after Hurricane Ida, alleging the city hasn’t adequately addressed complaints about flooding issues in their neighborhood.
About 20 homeowners who live in a low-lying area of Hollis gathered at Queens Borough Hall on Tuesday, according to Gothamist. They cited the rising concern of climate change and the existing flood risk facing certain areas in the borough as an infrastructure issue in desperate need of official attention.
The homeowners also questioned the $2 million Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2018 dedicated to confronting flooding in southeast Queens, which they told the outlet they are yet to see impact the area.
The storm earlier this month caused tens of thousands of homes in the tri-state area to be damaged. Thirteen New York City residents were killed, 11 of whom were in basement apartments that flooded from the storm.
One protester — whose family owns a home where two people drowned in the basement — told Gothamist that if the city wasn’t going to fix the infrastructure issues highlighted by the devastating storm, authorities should buy out the homes.
Former Governor Andrew Cuomo led a program to that effect after Hurricane Sandy almost a decade ago, using $655 million in federal aid to buy in excess of 600 homes.
New York and New Jersey are receiving federal disaster aid in the wake of Ida, but residents have struggled to get the funds they need from FEMA. City residents have already submitted 31,000 applications to the agency and Mayor Bill de Blasio claimed earlier in the day that some checks were already on the way.
Ida caused anywhere from $16 billion to $24 billion of damage in the Northeast, according to a CoreLogic study. About 90 percent of that was concentrated in the tri-state area, as well as Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
Flooding events are becoming a larger concern for cities across the US as recent research says the catastrophic events will likely increase in coming years due to climate change.
[Gothamist] — Holden Walter-Warner