State Registries Saved Lives During Sandy, But Not in NYC

January 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm

In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a registry that would allow disaster responders to know where to find people most urgently in need of aid. But he does not appear to have followed through.

Police in the Rockaways found the drowned body of 90-year-old George Stathis lying between a couch and the wall in his Belle Harbor basement five days after Hurricane Sandy. In Staten Island, Jack Paterno, paralyzed from cerebral palsy, was helpless to escape as floodwaters rushed into his bungalow.

They were just two of the aged or disabled New Yorkers who perished in Sandy. Nearly half of the 43 New Yorkers who died from the storm were elderly, a rate almost four times higher than senior citizens’ share of the city population. Many more disabled and homebound city residents were stranded for days and even weeks without vital medical equipment and care.

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