“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“Six weeks ago this morning, New York was bracing for Hurricane Sandy: Evacuating low-lying coastal communities; opening emergency shelters; and moving to protect key parts of our infrastructure. All those steps, and others, were part of a plan that we’d prepared to help us ride out major coastal storms. And while Sandy proved to be stronger and more deadly than any storm we’ve ever faced before, implementing that plan kept the destruction and loss of life from being far worse than it might have been.
“Now, even as we continue bringing life back to normal in areas hit hardest by Sandy, it’s time to take other steps as well: To evaluate our preparedness and recovery operations; to plan long-term recovery; and to begin instituting new measures to protect New York against future hurricanes or other extreme weather events. In a speech last week on shaping the city’s future after Sandy, I set out how we’re going to do that.
“First, it’s essential to take stock of what City agencies did well before, during and after Sandy – and also what we can do better the next time. That’s why I’ve directed Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway and Deputy Mayor for Human Services Linda Gibbs to do such a review, and report back by the end of February with recommendations for updating and improving our preparedness and recovery operations. That will, for example, include revising the boundaries of the city’s existing evacuation zones, and also identifying steps to better prepare hospitals for potential power outages.
“Second and simultaneously, we’ll work with leaders in the areas that Sandy hit hardest to develop comprehensive community recovery plans. They’ll cover everything from public and private housing to hospitals and schools, and from local businesses and non-profits to transportation and community centers. We’re a coastal and harbor city, and we’re not going to abandon our 520 miles of waterfront. But re-building in areas Sandy hit will have to be done more safely and sustainably. Because of the City’s current environmental standards, waterfront developments built over the past 10 years survived Sandy relatively well – and going forward, we’ll work with the City Council to implement sensible post-Sandy re-building requirements, too. We’ll also make an expedited study of realistic strategies for protecting coastal areas from storm surges.
“Third, it’s also clear that new steps are needed to safeguard key elements of our infrastructure – in electrical power, transportation, telecommunications, hospitals, and other areas – from disruptions during hurricanes, heat waves, or other extreme weather events. We’ve already reached out to the CEOs of utilities and other key companies to begin working on strengthening these systems and making them more resilient.
“While we’ve never been hit by a storm as powerful as Hurricane Sandy, throughout our history New Yorkers have been struck by many other deadly disasters. And each time we’ve learned from the experience, and come back stronger and better prepared than ever. New Yorkers have showed that no fire, flood, or terrorist attack can destroy this city’s spirit or dim our future. Now we’ll prove that again.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening.”