Indian Americans hit hard as storm leaves a trail of death and destruction


The Saffron Banquet Hall in flames following an explosion caused by flooding

Several members of community drown in NJ and NY; Saffron Banquet Hall explodes

Our Bureau
Edison, NJ

At least 23 New Jerseyans died after Tropical Storm Ida caused deadly flooding, high winds and tornadoes on Wednesday evening, Gov. Phil Murphy said on Wednesday. “The majority of these deaths were individuals who got caught in their vehicles by flooding and were overtaken by the water,” he said at an afternoon briefing in Hillsborough. Murphy said that New Jersey is “still very much in the midst of the impacts of Ida.”

Some victims were killed by collapsing structures, while others were overcome by onrushing water. In South Plainfield, N.J., Dhanush Reddy, 31, was swept into the 36-inch mouth of a storm sewer pipe, according to the news site Patch. Reddy’s body was discovered on Thursday in Piscataway, nearly five miles away.

Malathi Kanche, 46-year-old who went missing in the Bridgewater Flood Waters on Wednesday, has been found dead. According to reports, Malathi was driving with her daughter Wednesday night and her vehicle was swept away by the flood on Route 22 in Bridgewater. She was said to have been on her way back from Rutgers University.

The daughter is however safe as she was able to swim through the waters to a safe place when they got out of the car. Malanthi on the other hand reportedly could not swim to safety and she got washed away by the flood.

The flooding has caused extensive damage to the community. A restaurant exploded in Manville, New Jersey early Friday, adding to the list of several structures in the area that were left to burn while being surrounded by floodwater from Ida.

A spokesperson with the borough’s Office of Emergency Management said there were no injuries following the explosion at Saffron Banquet Hall on South Main Street. A video posted on social media appeared to show the aftermath. The banquet hall, often used as a wedding venue, was seen on fire around 2 a.m. Friday and NJ Certified Emergency Manager John Bentz said the blaze couldn’t be accessed due to flooding.

A few hours before the explosion, all the flooding that covered nearby North Main Street had finally receded after it essentially cut the 10,000 residents of Manville from the rest of New Jersey with chest-high water levels on Thursday.

There have been deaths and destruction in New York too, especially in the Queens area which is home to many Indian Americans.

In a basement apartment on 183rd Street in Hollis, Queens, as the water reached their ankles, the Ramskriets — father, mother and two sons — hustled to get their things. Suddenly, they heard a collapse, said Dylan Ramskriet, one of the brothers, and a gush of water shoved them through the pitch-black apartment as the walls caved in, according to a report in the New York Times.

The torrent swept his father, Dameshwar, across the home, as he clutched for the hand of his wife, who was known as Tara. But Mrs Ramskriet and their 22-year-old son, who went by Nick, both drowned.

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