You are here
300,000 Trinis in Sandy’s path
As Hurricane Sandy, dubbed “Frankenstorm” and believed to be one of the worst storms to hit the US, headed towards New York yesterday evening, thousands of Trinidadians and Tobagonians at home spent a restless night fearing for the safety of their loved ones.
New Jersey and New York are expected to bear the brunt of the storm which has been on a relentless path along the eastern seaboard of the US. The category one hurricane was on a collision course with another weather system and a state of emergency has been declared in New York City.
There are some 300,000 Trinidadians living in New York, among them Nan Gosine Ramgoolam, Consul General of T&T’s New York consulate. Yesterday evening, most of them prepared as best as they could and hunkered down waiting for Sandy to hit landfall.
Gosine-Ramgoolam spoke with the T&T Guardian and said her husband and two children were in T&T. “They are in constant contact with me,” she said from her residence in upstate New York where strong winds howled outside. The consulate, in Zone A, was closed after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg mandated the evacuation of everyone there.
She said: “I am safe here for now. There are systems in place in case of an emergency.” Gosine-Ramgoolam said since Friday the consulate had been preparing for Sandy. “We made sure all staff members were safe and got telephone contacts for everybody. Three Trinidadian workers lived in Zone A in Lower Manhattan where the authorities ordered evacuation and we made sure they were relocated,” she added.
Dr Luke Raymond-Guillen, son of Guardian Editor-in-Chief Judy Raymond was working on the wards of the Long Island College Hospital just outside New York yesterday afternoon and preparing to spend the night there. He was told to stay there because it was not safe to go home.
Raymond-Guillen said the rest of his family lived in T&T and “it’s just me” out in New York. “Right now, the streets are deserted. The skies are dark and gloomy. There are gusts of wind outside. Long Island is already flooded and there is rain and fallen trees in Manhattan,” he added.
He said patients in hospitals in danger zones may be evacuated to the Long Island Hospital where he is doing his internship and his help would be needed. Raymond-Guillen said on Sunday he went to the supermarket for supplies and bottled water was sold out.
Dr Neil Parsan, T&T’s US ambassador, in a media release yesterday, urged prayers for all in Sandy’s path and said the T&T Embassy in Washington DC was closed yesterday. Parsan said he has been communicating with T&T nationals in the “diaspora”, via telephone, e-mail and the social media, and said those wishing to reach the T&T missions could contact the embassy at ttembassy.com, [email protected] and [email protected].
He said the embassy had data on about 1,000 scholarship students but none on those who are studying privately in New York. Parsan said he was worried about elderly members of staff who lived alone. He said the T&T embassy had 36 staff members.
Yesterday morning, New Yorker Neisha Clarke, a Trinidadian, was home on a mandatory day off. Clarke who works with the New York City Transit Authority said the state’s entire subway and bus system was down. She said she was at home with her two children and was “not really scared. “I’m just going to take it (Sandy),” she added.
In Long Island, Trinidadian Nicolai Legerton braced strong winds and went out in search of more supplies but had a hard time. “Everything was sold out. I did a lot of driving until I found a dollar store and got two flashlights.” Caribbean Airlines (CAL) head of communications Clint Williams said all flights in and out of New York and Toronto were cancelled due to adverse weather conditions and gusty winds.
“It’s not only CAL’s flights. Flights around the world have been cancelled,” he added. Airlines using airports in New Jersey and New York reportedly cancelled more than 7,600 flights, reports stated yesterday. Williams could not give an idea of what it would cost CAL but said 12 flights were cancelled on the first day. Affected passengers can visit CAL’s website at www.caribbean-airlines.com for further flight information.
In New York, some 3,000 people were evacuated to 76 emergency public shelters around the city, fearing a combination of the storm surge, coastal flooding and a ferocious blizzard, reports said. Authorities warned New York could be hit with an 11-foot wall of water that could swamp parts of lower Manhattan, flood subway tunnels and cripple the network of electrical and communications lines that are vital to the nation's financial centre.
US President Barack Obama, in a White House statement, warned the storm could have "potentially fatal" consequences. Sandy was blamed for 69 deaths in the Caribbean before it began its fearsome journey northward.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.