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Federal authorities: storm safety plans for disabled are lacking

A court filing by the federal government says the city's storm preparedness plans are inadequate for the disabled.

(Metro File Photo.) (Metro File Photo.)

In a court filing on Friday, the federal government reportedly slammed New York City's emergency management plans as inadequate to protect disabled New Yorkers, the New York Times reported.

The 31-page document, provided to Manhattan Federal District Court judge Jesse M. Furman, accuses the city of violating federal law as the plans in place "do not adequately protect the rights of individuals with disabilities." It outlined the ways the city failed to meet the needs of disabled residents in terms of providing "shelters, transportation and evacuation, and emergency-related communications."

Judge Furman has been presiding over a 2011 class-action lawsuit filed after Tropical Storm Irene.

While the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, is not involved in the case, his office filed a statement of interest noting that the city's disabled population is an estimated 900,000, and at least 118,000 are believed to live within Zone A, which required mandatory evacuation during Hurricane Sandy last year.

The statement insisted on the importance of ensuring "their safety and well-being are safeguarded to the same extent as the rest of the city's residents."

The city's Law Department responded forcefully on Friday, asserted that the city had "a robust and national recognized outreach program and engaged in an aggressive and coordinated response during Hurricane Sandy to meet the needs of and assist disabled New Yorkers."

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat

 
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