Malathi could not be saved … her body found two days after the floods

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Family of Malath Kanche, 46, whose body was later found Friday Sept. 3, sent this poster in hopes of finding her. Photo: courtesy family

The day after she went missing, Malathi’s family put out a search for the beloved mother of two.

Her body was found Sept. 3, 2021, two days after the devastating floods caused by Ida making their way into New Jersey and New York with torrential rains that caused flash floods and destroyed many basements, and resulted in numerous deaths in the South Asian community.

Many Indian families and their homes fell victim to the aftermath of Ida’s fury.

“Malathi is missing from last night. She was last seen at around 8:20pm on route 22 east close to Lexus showroom. This was during heavy rains. She was wearing jeans and black tshirt,” was the message a neighbor sent along with a prepared visual flyer to identify Malathi.

Desi Talk newspaper put up the poster in their publication which was out Friday, but followed up with a call to check for any updates. There was an update but it was terrible news.

“The cops just called to tell the family,” Nilu Verma, the family’s friend and neighbor, told Desi Talk on the afternoon of Sept. 3. “They found her body in Bound Brook River today,” Verma said holding back sobs. She asked that media not call the family about what was a tragedy they had come to know just minutes before.

“We couldn’t do anything. I am a neighbor. We are all so broken,” Verma said.

“I knew her personally,” Verma said.

Now Malathi Kanche’s husband and two children, 19 and 15, are bereft.

According to a news report in South Asia Monitor, Malathi Kanche’s was drowned after she was swept away when her car stalled on a flooded road. Also in New Jersey, Danush Reddy, 31, was sucked into a 36-inch (91-cm) sewer pipe by the floods, SAM reported.

In addition, at least four people of Indian origin and a Nepali family of three died in the New York region.

Phamatee Ramskriet, 43, and her son Krishah, 22, drowned when their basement flat flooded in New York City. Also killed in the flood were Mingma Sherpa, 48, and Ang Gelu Lama, 52, and their infant son Lobsang Lama, 2, who drowned when the waters inundated their basement flat after record rains. Of the total rainfall that day of 20.5 cm, more than 7.5 cm fell within an hour and New York Governor Kathy Hochul likened it to “Niagra Falls-level” of water falling on the city, South Asia Monitor noted.

Even though Hurricane Ida was most devastating in Louisiana state and its neighbors in the south where entire localities were totally destroyed, its deadliest human toll was in the New York region where at least 42 people were killed – 25 in New Jersey, 16 in New York City and one in Connecticut, South Asia Monitor reported.

(Add ons from South Asia Monitor)

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