Over this past weekend, residents up and down the east coast witnessed the wrath of Hurricane Irene. Irene decimated portions of the east coast, especially areas close to open water. Even though Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm before it hit New Y
ork, New Yorkers still felt the wrath of this devastating natural disaster. New York’s Mayor, Michael Bloomberg issued mandatory evacuations for residents in “low-lying” areas in fear of severe flooding.
Despite multiple warnings of heavy flooding, many New York residents in those “low-lying” areas prone to flooding ignored the warnings of the city and decided to remain bunkered up inside their residences. Why? Many residents did not want to leave their homes, some didn’t believe that the damage would be so severe and others even cited bed bugs, yes bed bugs as the reason for not leaving their residences and going to a shelter or safe house.
According to Fox 11 Wisconsin, “The city opened more than 90 evacuation shelters with room for about 70,000 people. But by early evening, only about 5,500 had checked in, officials said.” The disparity in numbers is extremely telling. Despite Bloomberg’s multiple statements that strongly cautioned residents against staying in their homes, many people ignored his warnings and stayed anyway.
One of those residents, Evelyn Burrus, a 60 year old tenant at a public housing complex in Brooklyn stated “Oh, forget Bloomberg. We ain’t going anywhere… Go to some shelter with a bunch of strangers and bed bugs? No way.”
Anyone who is well informed about the severity of bed bugs and a bed bug infestation had to have thought twice about leaving their residence unprotected, in order to head over to a shelter where the likelihood of someone having bed bugs was pretty good. The bed bug epidemic has become a reality for many citizens to the point where their fear of bed bugs is more prominent than the fear of a hurricane/tropical storm.
Don’t be naive about bed bugs! Contracting a bed bug infestation can take more of an emotional or physical toll on a person because of how difficult they are to eradicate. Hurricanes come and go, bed bugs are here to stay!