New York wants to build dams against the Atlantic

The American metropolis, largely conquered on the water, is particularly exposed to the effects of global warming and the rise of the oceans.

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In the port of New York, in October 2018. One of the planned routes is to close the port by a dyke with two additional dams. SPENCER PLATT / AFP

Nearly seven years after Sandy, the hurricane ravaging New York City, sandbags are piling up south of Manhattan, between the East Village and the Brooklyn Bridge. A dam against the Atlantic as one would have erected several centuries ago. "Six years of study and you arrive with sandbags? Really ? ", mocked in the New York Times the resident Marco Pasanella.

The immensity of the task is confusing. It is found by pacing a little further south Battery Park, in front of the Statue of Liberty. During the terrible hurricane of October 2012, the water rose three meters at high tide, and reached the first floor of a historic restaurant.

The speech of the mayor, who wants to create a hilly park with green dykes to fight against rising water, can leave a bit skeptical. New York is trying to adapt to climate change.

To save in a hurry

As Daniel Zarrilli explains, "responsible resilience" of the municipality, it takes three forms: hurricanes, which can cause tens of billions of dollars in damage; heat waves – like the one that hit the city this summer, leading to a power cut due to excessive use of air conditioning – which is the most human casualty; and the rising waters that can threaten the very existence of the city.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Hurricanes: phenomena aggravated by global warming

New York has chosen to prepare for hurricanes, the violence of which may increase. The danger is the surge of water, submersion, when the cyclone flies over the city, sucking the sea several meters and creating a huge tide.

In 2012, Big Apple was not ready: the tunnels that serve the island of Manhattan were drowned, as were the metro stations. The generating unit of the large Bellevue hospital was flooded, forcing evacuation of the sick, including the hospitalized prisoners chained down the stairs in the dark. The seaside houses have been undermined, as well as the "boards" that give the beaches of New York a little air of Normandy.

Emergency measures have been taken, and the city is now better prepared for a flood. The generators of the hospitals were mounted on the floors; gates protect tunnels that have been renovated while metro stations can be isolated; a safety line has been installed to supply drinking water to the isolated area of ​​Staten Island. In short, the safety of people is better assured.


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