Proma Roy (UWC AC 2011-2013)
“URGENT: Evacuate Immediately!” I saw from the corner of my eye. I had just returned from first year camp the night before, so I hadn’t checked my email in a few days, and had no knowledge of what was happening outside Wales. Upon checking my email I saw three or four emails from Waterside Plaza, the apartment complex on the East River of New York, where my family lives. The emails went gradually from, “important weather alert,” urging people to move their cars from the basement to a higher level; to “you must be out of your apartment by 5 pm today.” There were, however, no emails from my parents or sisters.
Some 370,000 people living in low-lying areas of New York City had been told to leave, and the city’s public transport system had been closed down for the first time in history. There was fear of the Hudson River and the East Rivers’ banks erupting and the floodwaters affecting underground New York – its subway system and the network of cables that power the city.
Time seemed to be slowing down as the hour of judgement came closer and closer. It couldn’t come quickly enough for all of us who had just left merely 4 or 5 days before. All we wanted was to know that the storm had passed and our families were safe, and at home. But for many people, the storm meant a power outage, which meant no way of communication. I, along with all of the other East Coast Americans, ran back and forth from the computers telling each other the news of Hurricane Irene. We saw of deaths “as the storm lashed North Carolina and Virginia as it charged up the East Coast toward New York.”
Fortunately, there was no power outage in New York, and my mom kept her Facebook status updated and uploaded pictures of their preparation. We live on the top floor of our building, so there was a possibility of the windows shattering. One of my mom’s Facebook statuses related the experience to one she had during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, “They are going door to door in our building and handing out duct tape to seal the window and put a cross over it. Last time I saw something similar was in 1971 when all of us had newspaper glued on our windows!”
It was very hard to get the latest news from anywhere after the storm had passed. Especially as the storm turned out to be a wimp, and journalists seemed to be disappointed by that. My mom’s status read “I think our preparation discouraged Irene and it turned into a tropical storm in frustration!” There were damages around the city, but according to my mom, “nothing spectacular,” thankfully.
– United Words –