Learning From Hurricane Sandy: LES Ready! Releases Report

The scene on South Street after Hurricane Sandy. Photo by Virginia Jones.

The scene on South Street after Hurricane Sandy. Photo by Virginia Jones.

This morning, a neighborhood coalition known as LES Ready! released a report examining the after-effects of Hurricane Sandy and detailing steps that should be taken to make sure the vulnerable communities along the East River are better prepared for the next storm. The report was prepared by the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center (CDP), Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) and Hester Street Collaborative (HSC), along with other community groups. The findings were unveiled before a packed auditorium of community activists at University Settlement earlier today.

The survey recounts the difficulties experienced by local residents, as a result of the storm’s destructive force and inadequate communication and resources from government agencies.  The study includes interviews with 640 local residents, 29 local organizations and eight focus groups. It concludes that the neighborhood’s many non-profit organizations, local elected officials and community activists help fill in the gaps, rushing aid to those in need until government mobilized. 94% of survey respondents reported a loss of power in their homes; 62% did not receive any aid from official government sources.

les ready 1

les ready2

The report offers the following suggestions to NYC government:

  • Make all notices, flyers and announcements available in Spanish, Chinese and Russian.
  • Provide solar powered charging stations that work when electricity is out.
  • Improve communication with local organizations and work to ensure relief efforts are coordinated and disaster preparedness plans are complimenting one another.
  • Ensure that people are prepared to evacuate and provide transportation for evacuation.
  • Identify and provide stipends to building and development “captains” in collaboration with resident leaders and community groups, to undergo more extensive emergency training and identify people with critical needs in their buildings.
  • Invest in creating vibrant community centers so that they can serve as community resources during natural disasters and beyond.

You can read the entire report here: