Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla declared that Hurricane Ida was “a man made disaster,” not a force of nature, while addressing how the Mile Square City was impacted in front of City Hall this afternoon.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Hurricane Ida was not a force of mother of nature: this was a man made disaster,” he said at a 2 p.m. press conference.
“And the culprits of this disaster: the fossil fuel industry, big oil, and its enablers must and should be held accountable for the havoc that they’ve wreaked on our quality of life here in Hoboken, in other parts of this region, and other parts of this country.”
Exactly one year ago, the City of Hoboken announced they’d join at least 19 other cities suing Exxon Mobil and other major oil companies for damages caused by climate change.
Bhalla also attributed climate change as to what made the storm so intense, noting that 6.54 inches of rain fell in eight hours – on par with Hurricane Irene – and and that 4.32 inches of rain occurred during the storm’s peak.
“What’s undoubtedly clear is that climate change is making these storms more frequent and more severe,” he added.
“Nowhere is this more apparent than here in Hoboken where we were hit with two historic flooding events in a span of just two weeks. According to the experts, storms like Ida are able to move quickly intensify and gain rapid strength, just like it to yesterday, due to rising temperatures.”
He later also referred to climate change as “the biggest national security threat to our country.”
Bhalla also stated that he had been in communication with White House staffers, Gov. Phil Murphy (D), and U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) calling for the region to get an emergency disaster declaration.
“I’ve strongly urged the federal government to provide an emergency disaster declaration for our region … I’m hopeful and confident this will occur in short order,” he stated.
Department of Environmental Services Director Jennifer Gonzalez advised that any residents whose homes have flooded should turn off their power, along with keeping a list of damages in the event an emergency disaster declaration occurs.
The mayor also urged anyone in need of assistance to call the Hoboken CERT line at 201-420-2000: extensions 1701, 1702, 1703, and/or 1705. The Hoboken Police and Fire Departments should only be contacted for major emergencies.
Additionally, garbage collection will continue sporadically throughout the day and resume fully, along with recycling pickup, this evening.
Meanwhile, street sweeping, parking meters, and the HOP buses will all resume tomorrow, Bhalla added.
Acting Fire Chief Anton Peskens said his department responded to around 200 calls for service in about 12 hours and urged residents to continue to stay off the roads for non-essential travel.
“If you don’t need to leave your home then don’t: you’re compromising our response times.”
Furthermore, Police Chief Daniel LoBue responded to over 200 calls for service between 7 p.m. yesterday and 12 noon today, including over 50 disabled vehicles, 26 “hazardous conditions,” two motor vehicle accidents, and two water main breaks.
“Hoboken is resilient … we’re going to get through this as a family and as neighbors,” Bhalla concluded.