NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A vigil and rally were held in Queens on Sunday to honor the lives lost in the deadly storms from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
Like a number of neighborhoods all over New York, tragedy hit Hollis in the worst way, taking away two people who neighbors say did not survive the storms.
As CBS2’s Cory James reported, 183rd Street became a raging river during last week’s storms. Water raced down roads and hid sidewalks.
But now that the flooding has cleared, homeowners are left with the pain of what happened.
Ragendra Shivprasad walked away during an interview with CBS2 after being overwhelmed with emotion. After he wiped his tears, James learned a 43-year-old mom and her 22-year-old son who lived in his basement died. Shivprasad’s son said they were killed because of fast-moving water that flooded their home.
“They’re like family friends to us. We’re all living in the same house. It hurts. It really hurts,” Amit Shivprasad said.
And people on the block are hurting, too. More than 100 neighbors showed up for a vigil and to express their outrage Sunday. They believe this all could have been avoided if construction on their street was done correctly years ago.
“They brought in the wrong sewer pipes. Something is wrong where the city is refusing to accept that the construction engineer doing this work, they don’t know what they’re doing,” neighbor Al Kanu said.
Meanwhile, Shivprasad has been ordered to vacate his house of close to 20 years.
Gov. Kathy Hochul is calling on New York City to implement changes.
“I believe there has to be a better warning system for people who are in their homes. We know where they are, and whether they’re certified and approved by a building inspector or not, it doesn’t matter,” Hochul said. “There’s a human being living in there, or multiple human beings living in that space. And we need a system that’s going to alert them, not just in English but in multiple languages, to let people know that they’re in danger.”
The governor said there is at least $50 million in damages, and the state is expecting the numbers to go up.
But because damages have reached that amount, officials are now able to apply for federal funding to help with things like temporary housing, home repairs, and legal services.
CBS2 reached out to the city for comment on what neighbors are claiming, but so far has not heard back.