2005_09_nycmapmini.jpgMayor Bloomberg criticized federal efforts to help Hurricane Katrina victims as he also reassured New Yorkers that our Office of Emergency Management had an evacuationg plan for the city if needed. At the West Indian Day Parade yesterday, the Mayor told a crowd:

The sad fact is that the vast majority of those who were left behind in New Orleans were either black or poor, or both. How could we have turned our backs on those who've needed our help for so long, for so many years that they were left to fend for themselves when disaster struck? As a nation, we all are to blame and we all must do better the next time.

The NY Times noted that some of the Mayor's would-be challengers have been trying to connect his billions as being a reason why he might be out of touch with NYC's poorest, as they ramp up to use Katrina as why voting for a Democrat is better for New York. The Mayor emphasized that the city would insist on evacuating residents, even by court order, and would have the mass transportation to get them out; plus, NYPD, FDNY and other emergency workers from the city are on their way to help out in the Louisiana-Mississippi region.

New York City's own hurricane evacuation plan is based on the city's topography, with the highest risk areas being lower Manhattan, Coney Island, the Rockaways, and Staten Island's perimeter according to an AP/WNBC report. There are evacuation routes, reception centers where you would find out what shelter to go to, and a computer system to track down friends and families at shelters. However, since NYC is above sea level (unlike New Orleans), the evacuation would be short since the tides would recede.

The Red Cross of Greater New York is collecting clothing and canned goods in front of Lincoln Center at Broadway and 66th Street (or thereabouts) until tomorrow evening; we'll try to update the details, but that's what we gathered from watching the morning news. You can learn more about donating to the Red Cross at Red Cross.