Cindy Rodriguez is the Urban Policy reporter for New York Public Radio.
Disability Rights Advocates allege that the city's emergency response plan fails to include the needs of the disabled. A lawsuit has been underway in federal court and the Department of Justice recently submitted a report to the judge supporting the advocates claims.
The report calls out the city for not knowing how many of its shelters and evacuation centers are accessible to the disabled.
It also criticized the early closure of MTA's access-a-ride service during Sandy leaving the disabled to try to evacuate on city buses with limited spaces for wheelchairs or on a subway system with few elevators.
The report says that despite the "obvious importance of accounting for the unique needs of individuals with disabilities," New York City's emergency plan fails to do so.
In a written statement, a city lawyer said it was disappointing that the DOJ took this action given the city's close coordination with the federal government before, during and after Sandy