Far Rockaway is a New York City community that is physically and socioeconomically susceptible to tragedies. The community was affected by the storm when the Hurricane Sandy cleared the U.S.eastern coastline in October 2012. In the early 20th Century, the community was a summer entry for New Yorkers;however, it has become a mixed income, distant residential New York neighborhood with overcrowded public housing. It has become anethnically and raciallyvaried community with many African Americans(Blake et al., 2013).
The poverty level in some areas of the community is above 50% and the community also experiences economic problems. Very few people own cars and houses, and the population density is high. Low-income individuals are not resistant to shock and therefore highly affected by natural calamities. Lack of resources like cars and insurance, insufficient healthcare, and financial wherewithal makes it difficult for poor residents to recuperate from emergency disasters in comparison to their rich counterparts. The lack of strong and sustainable means of transportation makes the community susceptible. It access to jobs, educational institutions, food, and other important resources, which make individuals to feel isolated. Therefore, evacuation and access to emergency services, fear, and panic are critical issues in extreme conditions(New York City Government, 2012).
The community has a beach andfive New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) public accommodation developments. It also has several modes of public transport that include the subway system and Long Island Railroad.The geographic location of the peninsula and the socio-economic characteristics of Far Rockaway make the community susceptible to the effects of hurricanes and tropical storms. The Hurricane Sandy led to extensive destruction in Far Rockaway due to storm surge and coastal flooding. The lives of the local residents were interrupted by physical destructionof their homes and environment, power outage, and a longpost-storm recovery. The community is characterized by major flooding during Hurricane Sandy, high social susceptibility of local residents, and sparse social media activity among the inhabitants(Blake et al., 2013). The potential environmental hazards in the community include the following:
Extreme Weather Events and Sea-Level Rise
The community is at risk of extreme weather events and sea-level rise because of its low-lying elevation and many natural and uncovered edges lining in the Planning Area perimeter.
Regular Flooding From Coastal Events
A large part of the land area is situated at or just above sea level, which makes areas along the shorelines susceptible to flooding even during the usual high tides.Regular flooding occasions are inconvenient and result in health and safety dangers because of the standing, still water in summer and huge swaths of ice in winter. They also lead to physical harm, which is costly to restore and reduces land values. The floods cause financial, physical, and psychological problems to inhabitants(New York City Government, 2012).
Far Rockaway community is a lowlandwith a large part of the community lying at depths that would be swamped, according to the New York City panel on climate change’s (NPCC) approximation of 11 to 13 inches sea level rise by 2015.The community is susceptible to ponding and still water because the inner streets are at a lower altitude than the brink. Therefore, water is stuck and can harvest for a long time. This condition is experienced when the storm sewer system is subjugated, for example, during a heavy rain event (New York City Government, 2012).
Environmental Health-Related Issues like Asthma
Asthma is one of the cases that lead to adult hospitalization in Far Rockaway community. The number of childrensufferingfrom asthma has increased. This hazard arises fromincreased air pollution. Planting tress is an important way of preventing environmental health related issue, which helps in improving air quality.Poor air quality worsens asthma’s symptoms (Cutter, 2012).
Tanks and Spills
Cases of tanks and spills have been witnessed in the community, which aredangerous environmental hazards. Spill prevention plans should be put in place to prevent this problem. This can be done by inspecting the tanks regularly.
(New York City Government,2012).
Polluters were discovered using the Toxic release Inventory Program. The objective of the Toxic Release Inventory Program is to offer communities with information concerning chemical releases and waste management activities, and encourage cognizant decision making by industries, government, non-governmental organizations and the public(Cutter, 2012).
Prevention of the Hazards
The planning Committee is searching for broad coastal protection planstoenhance resiliency and security of inhabitants in the community. The strategies include:
- Constructing a rain garden using green infrastructure to gather, store, and treat storm water.
- Restoring wetland habitat and raising portions of the Bayside Nature Trail to increase resilience measures for recreational and conceptual plans in the community.
- Creating a network of relief centers to coordinate relief and recovery aftera disaster
- Funding capital improvements to strengthen local health center facilities against future storms and emergency events.
- Coordinating with other communities to enticeextra health services, particularly emergency services
- Educating and counselling individuals and availing technical aid to assist property owners comprehend the physical and financial dangers that face their homes and make informed decisions about resiliency saving and financial decisions(Cutter, 2012).
Blake, E. S., Kimberlain, T. B., Berg, R. J., Cangialosi, J. P., and Beven II, J. L. (2013). Tropical Cyclone Report: Hurricane Sandy. National Hurricane Center, 12.
Cutter, S. L. (2012).Hazards vulnerability and environmental justice. Routledge.
New York City Government. (2012).Mayor Bloomberg Issues Order for Mandatory Evacuation of Low-Lying Areas as Hurricane Sandy Approaches. News from the Blue Room: Press Release 377-12.