Brooklyn, NY – Hundreds of public housing tenants refused to obey the mandatory evacuation order as Hurricane Sandy rolled in on Monday. Even though police officers went door-to-door urging residents to leave, many opted to stay in their apartments. Those left in the Red Hook area are now believed stranded without hot water, heat, and working elevators.
More than two dozen public housing developments are located in the low-lying areas along the waterfront in the targeted evacuation area, according to the New York Daily News. Police officers used bullhorns and door knocks to warn approximately 46,000 residents in the area.
Red Hook East Houses resident Dorothy Shields, 80, had this to say before Sandy hit:
“I’m not leaving. I have faith in God. If he wants to get us, he will. It won’t be as bad as they think it will be.”
The shutdown of elevators, heat, and hot water was done in an effort to get the public housing tenants to adhere to the mandatory evacuation order for the sake of their safety. Transportation out of the area and shelters were available.
A police New York City Police officer standing in the Unity Towers government housing development on Coney Island had this to say:
“Almost everyone is still inside. No one is leaving. No one thinks this is a big deal. They just won’t listen.”
A group of nearly 500 senior citizens reportedly huddled together at Harbor Houses on Surf Avenue. Although they noted their fear, they too opted to stay. One resident stated his belief that if anything happened, the police would save him.
Earlier in the day, a host of mayors and governors called such statements extremely selfish. Expecting first responders to put their lives on the line to save people ordered to evacuate was widely discussed but elected officials as Sandy made landfall, according to DNAinfo.com New York Neighborhood News. Crews are out today reviewing the devastated area and looking for survivors, but hundreds of firefighters are tied up fighting multiple large blazes. The fate of the public housing tenants who decided to ignore orders to leave is currently unknown.