The Southern District of New York certified a class action in a case arising out of last year’s Hurricane Irene in which advocates for the disabled contend that New York City’s emergency preparedness plans did not adequately consider the needs of the disabled. In Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled v. Bloomberg, plaintiffs allege that the City does not effectively account for 900,000 New Yorkers with disabilities in its planning for major disasters, which puts all people with disabilities – including seniors, veterans and children with disabilities – at mortal risk during emergencies, like Hurricane Sandy. The suit seeks an order that the city devise programs to address the issue.
Similar complaints from the disabled have been made in connection with Hurricane Sandy. According to the Disability Rights Advocates, which represents the plaintiffs in the Hurricane Irene class action, people with disabilities impacted by Hurricane Sandy have reported a lack of evacuation, emergency shelters, and power outages, which left them stranded in their homes, without vital medical equipment, and prescription medications.