New York, September 5
Four persons of Indian-origin have been killed in the US states of New Jersey and New York after they were swept away by flash floods caused by Hurricane Ida.
Hurricane Ida, which made landfall on August 29 in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, is the second-most destructive hurricane to hit the state on record, only after Hurricane Katrina (2005).
A report in patch.com said 31-year-old Dhanush Reddy from Edison died last week after being swept into a 36-inch storm sewer pipe in South Plainfield, New Jersey.
The report added that South Plainfield Police, Middlesex County Water Rescue Team and Piscataway Police arrived at the scene where officials were assisting motorists in the area of Hadley and Stelton Road and heard cries for help.
Authorities said two men were swept into the pipe, which goes from South Plainfield to Piscataway.
While one of the men was rescued, the other could not be located and authorities found Reddy’s body in a wooded area a few miles away the day after he drowned.
“Many of the flood’s victims lived in basement apartments, some of which were subterranean dwellings carved out illegally from larger homes and may have lacked the emergency egress required of legitimate apartments. Comparatively low-cost living spaces, they are a refuge of thousands of the city’s poor, even as they are known to be firetraps,” a report in The New York Times said.
“Overnight, the basements became traps of water,” it added.
The NYT report added that the Ramskriets, a family of four, were in their Queens home when flood water reached their ankles. As they tried to get their things, “they heard a collapse and a gush of water shoved them through the pitch-black apartment as the walls caved in.”
The flood swept the elderly Dameshwar Ramskriets across the home as he clutched for the hand of his wife Tara. “I tried to hold on to my wife, and she was trying to hold on to me,” he said on Thursday according to the NYT report. “But the water pushed me away and I couldn’t feel her hand anymore.” Tara Ramskriet and her 22-year-old son, Nick, drowned.
Another Indian-origin person, Malathi Kanche, 46, a software designer, was driving home with her 15-year-old daughter on Wednesday when her vehicle halted in waist-deep floodwater on Route 22 of Bridgewater, New Jersey.
Kanche and her daughter held onto a tree as floodwaters pulled them, according to a family friend, Mansi Mago, but the tree fell, pulling Kanche in the torrent.
Initially, officials put Kanche on the list of “missing persons”.
She was confirmed dead on Friday, the NYT reported.
A Nepali family who lived in a basement apartment in Queens also died as the storm waters inundated their apartment, leaving them trapped inside.
Mingma Sherpa had frantically called her neighbour Choi Sledge who lived upstairs for help, saying “The water is coming in right now.”
“Get out! Get to the third floor!” Sledge had told Sherpa.
The NYT report said that the family did not come upstairs. Sledge called them again and in the brief call, Sherpa told her “The water coming in from the window.”
Sherpa, her husband, Lobsang Lama, and their little boy named Ang all drowned in the storm.
Ida transitioned into a post-tropical cyclone on September 1, killing 65 people across the US, with the majority deaths in New Jersey, New York and Louisiana.
Apart from deaths and damage to the ecology, Hurricane Ida has battered the civic infrastructure in the northeastern states of the US.
The storm has caused at least USD 50 billion in damages, according to official estimates. PTI
Surgical strike on Capt over ‘inaccessibility, SAD proximity...