Written by Adriana DiBenedetto
On Wednesday, September 1, 2021, rain of record intensity fell upon New York — the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
With more than three inches of rain falling in one hour, subways soon experienced switch malfunctions, floods, systemwide shutdowns and slowdowns, and streets became rivers. Thousands lost electricity, states of emergency were declared, and many basement apartments were frighteningly overwhelmed by the murky water that had surged inside from beneath their doors.
“The water was coming so fast, I don’t know where from,” said a Tzu Chi care recipient named Niculae Neascu. As he showed volunteers his home, a foam floor mat still clung to the ceiling. “We worked for three days to empty it and clean it up. As you can see, we have nothing left.”
“I live on the first floor,” said Xidong Gao, another local care recipient. “The flood quickly reached my chest. So I escaped from the first floor to the second floor.”
A Queens resident named Sophy Liu vividly recounted the events of that night to Tzu Chi volunteers as well. It’s thanks to her caring friends and neighbors that she was able to get through the situation, she explained. “Water started coming from the door,” said Sophy. “Once we tried to open the door, the door got stuck; I couldn’t open it. My upstairs landlord and my friends, they all tried to come — swimming over — to help me break the door [open].”
Like Nicolae, Xidong, and more local community members, Sophy had been notified of Tzu Chi’s flood relief mission, and came to the Flushing office on September 8 when Tzu Chi volunteers had organized the first of two flood relief distributions to date. The first distribution aided 26 families, and the second distribution, which took place on September 11, provided relief for 59 families.
As our disaster relief mission continues in New York, we invite you to join us in serving the community with love. Our next flood relief distribution will take place on Saturday, September 18, 2021, and you can be there for your community as a Tzu Chi volunteer. Learn more and sign up today.