The remnants of Tropical Storm Ida hit the east coast late Wednesday and early Thursday, causing record rains, powerful flash floods and devastating tornadoes. In New York and New Jersey, at least 42 people have been killed.
New Jersey recorded the highest death toll with 27 dead on Saturday, Gov. Phil Murphy said.
“All of these deaths are directly or indirectly related to flooding and water, whether in cars or homes,” Murphy said earlier in the week on NBC’s “TODAY”. “It’s an absolute tragedy.”
The majority of New York State’s 17 deaths have been in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio called the deaths a “tragic loss”.
“We are seeing some of the most incredible and heartbreaking images of our city,” he said. tweeted Thusday. “It is my sad duty to announce that we have now lost a total of 13 New Yorkers to the storm last night.”
Some of the victims have been publicly named by the authorities. Others have been identified by their grieving relatives. Here’s what we know about them.
Darlène Hsu, 48 years old
Darlene Hsu died after floodwaters crashed into a lower-level apartment in Queens, New York. She was living in an apartment on the sixth floor with her mother, but was in another apartment when the storm hit, her ex-husband, Dennis Hsu said Thursday.
Darlene, 48, tried to escape but was slammed against the door as water rushed inside.
“I’m just at a loss for words,” Dennis said on a phone call. “I do not know what to think.”
Darlene and Dennis married in 2000. He said they stayed close after their divorce in 2015 and spoke to each other often. He described his ex-wife, who worked at a management company in Bayside, as a “lovely person” who would help anyone in need.
“I’m just trying to understand,” he said. “Why did Mother Nature take my ex-wife? She was the nicest person. She was the sweetest person.… She always tried to help everyone.”
– Minyvonne Burke
Roberto Bravo, 66 years old
Roberto Bravo has had serious health issues in recent years, which was one of the reasons he moved into the back bedroom of a basement apartment in Brooklyn, where he died this week. his family said.
The building belongs to one of his brothers who lives on Long Island.
“He had three strokes which he survived,” said his nephew, Otto Bravo. “That was about two years ago. He went from hospital to hospital.”
Last year Bravo, 66, contracted Covid-19 and spent a month in hospital, his nephew said. Bravo’s family said they were devastated that he overcame a disease that has killed more than 649,000 people in the United States only to die from the rising waters that have proven too powerful to overcome.
“He survived Covid but he couldn’t survive it,” Otto Bravo said on Friday. “It’s horrible. Ironic.”
He said that some of his uncle’s last words were: “Ayúdame por favor” – please help me.
Otto said his uncle, the owner of the apartment building where Roberto lived, saw water running in some apartments from a surveillance camera.
“He called him to get out of the house,” Otto said, adding that Roberto answered the call but missed a follow-up. The family suspect that Roberto may have rested when he received the first call and may have been disoriented.
“He woke up, I guess, too late,” Otto said.
Two of his uncles went to the building to help Roberto. “When they returned, the police were removing the body,” he said.
Roberto Bravo was born and raised in Ecuador. When he was 20, he went to Venezuela, said his brother Armando Bravo, 59, who lives in Paterson, New Jersey. He immigrated to the United States in his 30s, his brother said.
Roberto Bravo was the fourth youngest of 11 children, eight boys and three girls. He had three sons, his brother and nephew said. They described him as a hard worker and a good father who was very family oriented.
Armando Bravo said his brother was a sort of political activist “who supported liberal causes”.
“If there was a protest for Black Lives Matter, you still find him there, walking and everything,” he said.
Before moving into the basement apartment, where he lived for a few years, he lived in Ecuador, Armando Bravo said.
Roberto Bravo had planned to return to Ecuador after settling a case related to his latest divorce, his brother said.
“He was just waiting for the money and then he was going back to Ecuador,” Armando Bravo said.
After his fight with Covid, his nephew said he saw him a few times, including this year.
“He was helping one of my aunts finish her house,” said Otto Bravo, 39, who lives in Bloomfield, New Jersey. “As old as he was, he was always ready to help us. He’s the kind of person he was.”
– Janelle Griffith
Rosa Espinal, 72 years old; José Torres, 71 years old; José Torres Jr., 38
Rosa Espinal and her husband, Jose Torres, emigrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States in the late 1980s or early 1990s to “work hard, seek a better life, raise a family, live the American dream” , a cousin, Pascual Torres, said Friday.
The couple and their three children – two daughters and a son – first settled in Newark, New Jersey. Other family members, including Pascual Torres’ family, also lived in Newark.
“We basically all lived together, right next door,” he said. “They are great people.”
Espinal, her husband and their son, Jose Torres Jr., eventually moved to Oakwood Plaza Apartments in Elizabeth, where they passed away this week. The family, along with a neighbor, Shakia Garrett, were found on the first floor.
“They were right at home and the next thing you know, 8 feet of water,” Pascual Torres said. “How do you survive this?” “
He remembered Espinal as dedicated to his family. Her husband worked long hours in a bodega to take care of her children, said Pascual Torres.
“He had a very strong work ethic. I knew he was working 16 or 18 hours a day, open to closed, just to be able to support his family,” he said. “And she always took care of the children, took care of us. I spent several days with them while my parents worked.”
The couple’s son was like a younger brother, Pascual Torres said.
“He was the youngest in the family,” he said. “He was a great boy. We grew up together, we played together all the time when we were kids.”
Pascual Torres, 44, who now lives in Virginia, said the deaths had been difficult for the family.
“Everyone takes it pretty badly,” he said. “I mean, you can only imagine that you wake up in the morning and hear about a storm that has taken place, and all of a sudden you find out that some of your family has perished.”
– Minyvonne Burke
Shakia Garrett, 33
Shakia Garrett was comforting her elderly neighbors and their son when floodwaters crashed into Oakwood Plaza in Elizabeth, New Jersey, quickly submerging their first-floor apartments, her older sister said.
“She was trying to keep them calm through everything,” Alissa Green said on Saturday.
Garrett, 33, died in the storm along with her neighbors Rosa Espinal, Espinal’s husband Jose Torres, and their son Jose Torres Jr.
Garrett moved into the building a little over a year ago. The night the storm hit, she had texted her family and friends to keep them up to date.
“All of a sudden she stopped texting,” said Khadija Naim, a family friend who has known Garrett since the age of 9. “I don’t think about it. I just think maybe she fell asleep or did something else in the house. I keep texting her and I’m like ‘Okay, she’ll answer me.’ “
As the minutes turned into hours of no response from Garrett, the family began to worry. Green said his father and brother went to the apartment building to check on Garrett’s condition. Just after 5 a.m. Green received a text from his brother. “She’s gone,” the message read.
“I’m heading towards Oakwood Plaza and the stage… it’s crazy. As I approached the apartments, I saw that the first one was wide open, the door closed and everything in there. interior [the apartment] was outside. I stopped there because I started to see my brother and my dad walking towards me and I didn’t see my sister, ”Green said, crying.
Garrett was known for his big heart. Green said she was “bringing everyone together” during a difficult time, including when Green recently lost her son.
The 33-year-old had recently developed a love for travel and returned last month from a trip to Las Vegas with her boyfriend.
“She was really an open person. She enjoyed her life. She loved being with her family, her friends, “Naim said.” She was always bubbly. “
– Minyvonne Burke
Phamatée Ramskriet, 43 years old; Krishah Ramskriet, 22
Phamatee and Krishah Ramskriet, who passed by Tara and Nicholas, drowned in their basement apartment in Hollis, Queens, after water burst through a concrete wall. Phamatee was 43 years old. Her son was 22.
Dylan Ramskriet, Phamatee’s other son, who also lived in the apartment, told the New York Times that when the water reached their ankles, he, his parents and his brother quickly attempted to round up some of their personal effects.
Dylan Ramskriet said the apartment was pitch black as the walls collapsed and a rapid jet of water swept his father, Dameshwar, through the apartment.
“I tried to keep my wife, and she was trying to keep me,” Dameshwar, who declined to be interviewed on Friday, told The Times. “But the water pushed me away and I couldn’t feel his hand anymore.”
New York Fire Marshal Daniel Nigro said the first two fire trucks to respond went up to their necks in water and pulled out one of the occupants, who was later identified by police as being Phamatee Ramskriet, and started CPR.
“Sadly, this poor woman died in hospital,” Nigro said at a press conference on Thursday.
Krishah Ramskriet was pronounced dead at the scene.
– Janelle Griffith