Public Advocate Williams' Statement On The Catastrophic Flooding In New York City

September 2nd, 2021

Press Release

"This is a catastrophic tragedy - to the families of all of the New Yorkers we have lost, we mourn with you today. To the people across our city who have lost so much in these waters, who are facing the immense damage in the aftermath of the storm, know that your city, state, and federal government are here for you. My office is here to help to ensure that the focus, the resources, and the financial support for homeowners and all facing damage remain long after the storm has passed, and that we keep our commitment to help.

"I thank all of the city workers repairing and responding in the streets right now, thank the Mayor and Governor for their cooperation and collaboration, thank New Yorkers for all they've done to keep each other safe, and ask for all of their partnership in the work to come.

"Each time there is an extreme storm in the city, one that overruns our systems and our streets, one that puts New Yorkers' safety and security at risk, we hear that it's 'once in a decade, or once in a generation, or once in 500 years...' I've heard it once too often. Those statements simply aren't true anymore. What we used to call extreme, outlier events are now just storms which have become a new normal, a result of our failure to combat climate change and prepare for its effects.

"Right now, our focus is rightly on making sure New Yorkers stay safe in the aftermath of this crisis and repairing the damage it caused, but we need to keep this level of emergency and crisis response- in overhauling our systems which were already failing, investing in green infrastructure to replace them, drastically enhancing our resiliency and preparation, readying our emergency response systems and the agencies managing them to be proactive rather than reactive, and advancing climate policy that could mitigate future harm. There are things we can repair in the wake of this flooding, but there has also been loss that we can never make up for, we can only work to prevent it from happening again."

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