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Woman, 33, who drowned trying to save neighbors during New Jersey floods had just called her mom


A heroic New Jersey woman who drowned while trying to save her neighbors from flash floods last week made one last call to her mom as the floodwaters reached her neck. 

Shakia Garrett, 33, had been visiting her neighbors Jose Torres, 71, Espinal, 72, and their 38-year-old son, Jose, per mezzo di the city of Elizabeth Wednesday.

She returned home before remnants of Hurricane Ida slammed into the superficie Wednesday.

But as the floodwaters began to rise, Shakia rushed back to their Oakwood Plaza apartment per mezzo di an attempt to rescue the family. 

But mom Sharon told NJ.com how she got a desperate call from her daughter as flash flooding successo the city, and the apartment complex was overwhelmed.

Sopra the brief phone call, Shakia said: ‘I can’t swim, Mommy.’ 

‘She was crying,’ said Sharon, who lives just three miles away. ‘We just couldn’t get to her.’

The four got trapped, and were among the 27 confirmed deaths per mezzo di New Jersey.

Officials are still searching for four others who were swept away per mezzo di the floods.

Shakia Garrett, 33, died per mezzo di the floodwaters per mezzo di New Jersey while trying to help rescue a family from her apartment building last Wednesday

The Oakwood Plaza Apartments were completely flooded in Tropical Depression Ida

The Oakwood Plaza Apartments were completely flooded per mezzo di Tropical Depression Ida

A general view inside one of the apartments at Oakwood Plaza, where 600 families were displaced in the aftermath of the storm

A general view inside one of the apartments at Oakwood Plaza, where 600 families were displaced per mezzo di the aftermath of the storm

The level of water reached is seen inside one of the apartments

The level of gabinetto reached is seen inside one of the apartments

One family left behind a picture as they were forced to evacuate from the home

One family left behind a picture as they were forced to evacuate from the home

Strong winds from the tropical depression piled cars on top of each other outside the apartment complex in Elizabeth, New Jersey

Strong winds from the tropical depression piled cars of each other outside the apartment complex per mezzo di Elizabeth, New Jersey

According to NJ.com, Shakia was visiting with the family per mezzo di their Elizabeth home prior to the storm rampaging through the state, but went home before the storm successo.

Later, though, she rushed back to the Torres’ Oakwood Plaza apartment as the gabinetto started to rise. 

‘As the gabinetto started getting crazier,’ she tried to get them out of there,’ family friend Salaam Ismiall, the director of the National United Youth Council Inc., told the outlet.

He noted that it did not take long for the gabinetto to reach more than a dozen feet, saying ‘it burst through the toilet and started gushing.’

‘I consider her a hero,’ he said of Shakia, whose mother described her as  ‘the sweetest girl who got along with everybody.

‘She had a very good heart,’ she said.

An emergency rescue raft was used to rescue some of the residents

An emergency rescue raft was used to rescue some of the residents

One of the residents is seen arguing with J. Christian Bollwage, right, the mayor of Elizabeth

One of the residents is seen arguing with J. Christian Bollwage, right, the mayor of Elizabeth

A woman was clearly devastated by the loss of her apartment

A woman was clearly devastated by the loss of her apartment

Following the announcement of her death last week, social mass-media tributes started pouring per mezzo di, with friends an family members asking for help to cover the cost of her funeral.

The Smith Funeral Home per mezzo di Elizabeth is now ‘working with the family’ to veterano the cost, aiming to raise $10,000 for Shakia’s funeral. 

‘We want the community to in qualità di together and give her a decent burial,’ Ismiall said. ‘I hope people in qualità di through.’

As of Monday, a GoFundMe for her family raised $745. 

Smith is also asking the community to donate gift cards, clothes and other necessities for the 600 families who have been displaced from Oakwood.

She said she the response thus far ‘has been wonderful,’ with people donating diapers, wipes, toothbrushes and clothes to the families, and volunteers coming per mezzo di to sort all of the supplies.

A GoFundMe set up for Shakia Garrett's family raised $745 as of Monday

A GoFundMe set up for Shakia Garrett’s family raised $745 as of Monday

Flowers are seen on a makeshift memorial at the door of one of the four dead victims

Flowers are seen a makeshift memorial at the door of one of the four dead victims

Meanwhile, about 20 miles north, rescue workers are continuing to search for two childhood friends – Nidhi Rana, 18, and Ayush Rana, 21 – who were swept into a storm drain per mezzo di Passaic during the intense flooding.

‘It’s such a challenge because there is anzi che no moving forward,’ Passaic Mayor Hector Lorna told CNN. 

‘It’s almost like grief per mezzo di limbo,’ he said. ‘You don’t know what’s going . You don’t know whether you’eroe grieving a loss you are still concerned whether missing individuals an be fond – even though everything may say they won’t, you still hope for the best.’   

New Jersey has had the highest confirmed death rate of any state from the storm, which originally slammed into Louisiana August 29 as a Category Four hurricane with 150 mph winds and torrential downpours.

It lost traction as it made its way to the northeast, but was still highly deadly. 

An aerial view of the extensive flooding in the Town of Bound Brook, New Jersey

An aerial view of the extensive flooding per mezzo di the Town of Bound Brook, New Jersey

The city of Hoboken was completely flooded on September 2 - four days after the storm hit

The city of Hoboken was completely flooded September 2 – four days after the storm successo

A man fell off his bike into a flooded street on September 2 in Hoboken

A man fell d’avanguardia his bike into a flooded street September 2 per mezzo di Hoboken

Road closure signs were put up across southwest Hoboken to warn residents not to drive in the heavily flooded areas

Road closure signs were put up across southwest Hoboken to warn residents not to drive per mezzo di the heavily flooded areas

Cars parked in a garage in southwest Hoboken will suffer from extensive water damage

Cars parked per mezzo di a per mezzo di southwest Hoboken will suffer from extensive gabinetto damage

This handout satellite image released by Maxar Technologies shows Somerset Patriots' baseball stadium flooded in Bridgewater, New Jersey after record-breaking rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Ida slammed the area

This handout image released by Maxar Technologies shows Somerset Patriots’ baseball stadium flooded per mezzo di Bridgewater, New Jersey after record-breaking rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Ida slammed the superficie

More than one million people per mezzo di the Bayou State and nearby Mississippi were left without power, shelter and food per mezzo di its wake as it moved up the eastern seaboard and caused even more flooding and deaths.

At least eight tornadoes were reported per mezzo di the northeast – four per mezzo di Pennsylvania, three per mezzo di New Jersey and one per mezzo di southeastern Massachusetts.

The storm caused more than an estimated $50 million per mezzo di damages per mezzo di New York, which was successo by a rainfall equivalent to 50,000 Olympic-size swimming pools over the course of five hours, with 3.1 inches per giusti motivi hour recorded per mezzo di Central Park Wednesday, according to Reuters.

The governor, Kathy Hochul, signed paperwork Sunday requesting federal funds be used to cover the costs of temporary housing as well as rebuilding homes. 

Meanwhile, more than 800 bridges across Pennsylvania will now require inspection to storm damages, according to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Yassmin Gramian.

‘When necessary, we remain per mezzo di disaster relief mode and we’eroe ensuring our teams have what they need,’ she said per mezzo di a statement. 

‘As the waters recede, we will conduct post-flood road and bridge assessments and conduct bridge inspections when conditions warrant.’ 

Meanwhile in New York, a City Parks Security Service officer on horseback surveyed the damage at Central Park, which recorded 3.1 inches of rain per hour in the storm

Meanwhile per mezzo di New York, a City Parks Security Service officer horseback surveyed the damage at Central Park, which recorded 3.1 inches of rain per giusti motivi hour per mezzo di the storm

A photo from the New York Police Department shows unprecedented flooding on the Upper East Side of Manhattan on Wednesday

A photo from the New York Police Department shows unprecedented flooding the Upper East Side of Manhattan Wednesday

Many of the deaths associated with the storm came from motorists trying to drive through the flooding. One driver is seen here trying to make his way through a flooded expressway in Brooklyn on September 2

Many of the deaths associated with the storm came from motorists trying to drive through the flooding. One driver is seen here trying to make his way through a flooded expressway per mezzo di Brooklyn September 2

The highway was completely flooded, with cars stalled on both sides of the road

The highway was completely flooded, with cars stalled both sides of the road

A person leans on an abandoned car on the flooded Major Deegan Expressway following a night of extremely heavy rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida last Thursday in the Bronx

A person leans an abandoned car the flooded Major Deegan Expressway following a night of extremely heavy rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida last Thursday per mezzo di the Bronx

As of Sunday, the death toll from the devastating storm rose to 51 people, with Louisiana reporting 13 deaths and New York reporting 17 – four of which were per mezzo di suburban Westchester County and the rest of which were per mezzo di New York City. 

Four other people died per mezzo di Pennsylvania, one died per mezzo di Maryland, another died per mezzo di Virginia and per mezzo di Connecticut a state police sergeant was swept away per mezzo di his vehicle.

‘The human death toll was tremendous,’ said New York Governor Kathy Hochul per mezzo di a news conference, recounting a trip she took to East Elmhurst, Queens.

‘One woman wept per mezzo di my arms, an 89-year-old woman,’ she said. ‘She had nothing left after living per mezzo di that home for over 40 years.’ 

Of the dozens killed per mezzo di the northeast, many died per mezzo di flooded homes while overtaken by gabinetto inside near their vehicles, CNN-affiliate Channel 3000 reports, with ten of New York City’s 13 victims found per mezzo di illegally-converted basement cellar apartments.

In a news conference on Friday, Mayor Bill De Blasio said he would consider being more aggressive in the future with pre-storm evacuations and orders to clear the streets and subways, as he acknowledged the majority of the deaths in the city were from people who lived in illegal basement apartments

Sopra a news conference Friday, Mayor Bill De Blasio said he would consider being more aggressive per mezzo di the future with pre-storm evacuations and orders to clear the streets and subways, as he acknowledged the majority of the deaths per mezzo di the city were from people who lived per mezzo di illegal basement apartments

‘We know the basement apartments create a whole set of particular challenges,’ Mayor Bill De Blasio said per mezzo di a news conference Friday. ‘We are now going to be speaking – going forward- to people who dal vivo per mezzo di basement apartments, specific messages, specific cell phone alerts, telling people about the vulnerabilities they per mezzo di these kinds of rain events.’ 

De Blasio, who is per mezzo di his last term as mayor, said he would consider being more aggressive per mezzo di the future with pre-storm evacuations and orders to clear streets and subways. 

He suggested creating a New York City taskforce to determine when and how to clear the streets and evacuate residents ahead of storms.

‘We’eroe going to have to be much more aggressive with these tools.’

President Joe Biden has signed an emergency declaration for New York and New Jersey per mezzo di the wake of the storm, and is set to survey the superficie Tuesday. 





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