Of course, we expected the worse. And we were happily disappointed when we woke up Sunday morning and saw the clouds clearing, the wind waning and the sun starting to shine. From the honking of the media, we thought water would be up above Pelham Road. But it didn’t happen like that.
It is hard to predict the extent of damage a hurricane can cause. It was not a lot wind gusts, but the water damage in the areas outside of New Rochelle are devastating.
On Sunday, I got a personal call from the County Executive Rob Astorino. I like to call it personal because his voice was on the line. But it was actually a robocall. He spoke with confidence of what was being done to address the damage in our county and advised us on how to proceed after the storm.
Before the storm, we did not get too much attention from our city. Where would you go for shelter if Irene were more catastrophic? I looked for information online and only found that the City in conjunction with the school district had opened Albert Leonard as a shelter. No other school in the South End — where the greatest population and perhaps the neediest live – was open to provide shelter. No place within walking distance to find shelter. That is bizarre and sad.
In building a greater sense of community, we need to inform all the people who reside in New Rochelle of the procedures in case of emergency. Leaving the downtown area without a place to find shelter is shortsighted and exclusive.
I am hoping our officials did not omit the needs of the South End purposely. But it was done.
Like Astorino, the City of New Rochelle has a Robocall system. If a major storm arises next time, we should use it indiscriminately. And provide emergency shelter inclusive of our entire community.