President Biden approved an emergency declaration for New York and New Jersey late Thursday night after at least 39 people died in those two states alone as remnants of Hurricane Ida unleashed deadly flooding from Virginia to New England.
Of the dozens killed in the East, many died in flooded homes – including many in flooded basements – or while overtaken by water in or outside their vehicles.
About 4.5 million people in the Northeast remained under flood warnings Friday morning, mostly in northeastern New Jersey, as rainwater flows into larger creeks, streams, and rivers. Some rivers in the Northeast are forecast to remain above flood stage into the weekend, though many are already receding.
"We have to start from scratch as we are mourning," Amrita Bhagwandin of Queens, New York, told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Thursday. "We have to see how we can move on in the most graceful way here. Because this– if you see the situation here, it's very unsafe, very unlivable. Death is upon us."
Bhagwandin's home sustained serious damage in the flood, but her biggest heartbreak was losing her neighbors, a mother and a son, she said.
Bhagwandin's husband, Sahadeo, said that their neighborhood has had flooding issues before. And officials may come through during times of disaster, but the residents there need more action.
"We need a lot of help in this neighborhood and over the years we have been neglected. I came here in 2003, and since 2003 to 2021, we're getting flooding and nothing has been done," Sahadeo Bhagwandin said. "We have several projects that were completed in this block but it is not resolving the issue we have."
In addition to the 39 deaths in New York and New Jersey, four deaths were attributed to the storm in Pennsylvania, and one each in Maryland, Connecticut and Virginia.