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Harsh Blizzard that Left 37 Dead in Buffalo Reveals City’s Failure in Protecting Residents

A harsh blizzard that tore through western New York on Christmas eve and left over 37 dead in Buffalo reveals the city’s incompetence in protecting its residents. 

37 deaths have been confirmed so far in Buffalo where 17 of the bodies were found laying frozen outside, 11 were found in homes, four were in vehicles and four died from cardiac events while shoveling. Three others lost their lives due to a delay in emergency medical services. This was confirmed by County Executive Mark Poloncarz. 

“Too many individuals in our community have died,” Poloncarz said. He added: “Unfortunately, there are families in this community who still have not been able to identify where a loved one is. They’re missing.”

The deaths in Buffalo accounted for more than half of the deaths throughout the nation where over 60 people died across 8 states due to the winter storm. 

As the survivors are slowly reeling from the loss of losing their loved ones, many surviving family members claim that the deaths were preventable.  

One victim, 22-year-old young Anndel Taylor, was driving home from work in Buffalo when she got stranded. According to family members’ testimonies, she was just six minutes away from her home. Taylor was even in touch with her sisters and told them the snow kept falling. She even called 911 only to be told that Emergency Responders were not available to help. 

“Her plan was to wait until the police got there,” her sister Tomeshia Brown said. But if that failed, she planned to “get up and walk once her car ran out of gas.” She also said she planned to go to sleep and then try to walk home once she woke up if help did not arrive.

As the panic seeped in, Taylor sent her last video to her family group chat which showed her cracking open the driver’s side window of her car that was entirely covered in snow. She even mentioned how the snow would probably be up to her waist if she got out of her car.

After two hours of no word from Taylor, her sister tracked her phone and showed that she was still outside.

“So I put the info on a private Facebook page called Buffalo Blizzard 2022 and asked for help,” Brown told CNN. She posted the address of the tracked phone and later that evening, she got a phone call from an unnamed man. “He let us know he checked her pulse and there was no pulse,” Brown said. Taylor had died from what could seemingly be a preventable death had the emergency personnel reached on time. Taylor’s body was retrieved the next day. 

Good Samaritans who lived within the suburb where Taylor died helped to move her body into another car where she was taken to the hospital. The emergency personnel still hadn’t made it by then.

“I want to get to the bottom of why the city was unable to help,” her mother Brown Steele said. 

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz told Poppy Harlow that two-thirds of the equipment that was dispatched to help clear snow during the height of the storm got stuck.

The officials een said on Tuesday 27th December that the country resumed their emergency response service but were ‘begging’ residents to stay indoors and adhere with Buffalo’s travel ban and even to keep away from the roads. 

Several family members of the victims who lost their life to the blizzard have spoken out and questioned the authorities for failing to tend to an emergency of this magnitude.

Shaun King, an American writer, civil rights activist and co-founder of Real Justice PAC took to social media to lash out at the officials for their sheer negligence in the face of an emergency blizzard.

King wrote, “The Mayor of Buffalo should be recalled or even prosecuted. The negligence and incompetence is criminal. He’s the worst Mayor in America.”

In a letter to the editor for the New York Post, Thomas Urban agrees. “While storms of this magnitude will almost inevitably and unavoidably result in the loss of lives, Gov. Hochul and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown failed in their responsibilities to adequately prepare for this one.” He continued, “this is Emergency Planning 101. Once again, our inept elected officials failed miserably in their duties to protect the citizens they serve.” 

The activist further claimed that the city waited for an hour before the storm hit to issue an alert and order people to stay off the roads.

When the storm engulfed the city, the authorities reportedly called off all emergency services while people waited for days at stretch to be rescued before being killed in the cold.

As investigations continue, several others are noticing loopholes and negligence among the officials responsible for handling such emergency situations.

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  • Zamena Manekia Manji

    Zamena Manekia Manji is a breaking news writer for TMJ News with experience of over 10 years in the field. Her areas of focus are important breaking stories in North America specifically untold stories from a minority lens.

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