At NYU, Students Sheltered From Storms

Students from hurricane-ravaged regions have evaded the full brunt of the damage.


Courtesy of Tony Wu

A trunk fell on a car in the city of Guangzhou.

Sarah Jackson, News Editor

Although hurricanes in the Carolinas and southeast Asia may seem worlds away, for some NYU students, the aftereffects of the deadly disasters have been felt back at home.

From the Carolinas facing the effects of Hurricane Florence to parts of southern China and the Philippines being battered by Typhoon Mangkhut, residents of these areas face uncertainty on many fronts. Fortunately, NYU students from affected areas seem to have avoided the brunt of the storms.

For Jam dela Fuente, his home was largely unscathed by the typhoon.

Born and raised in the Philippines, dela Fuente only came to NYU this year, leaving behind his father, two younger sisters and grandfather in Quezon City, part of Metropolitan Manila.

Courtesy of Tony Wu
Commuters in Guangzhou struggled to travel to work after the typhoon.

The CAS first-year acknowledged that his family, who were unharmed by the typhoon, are some of the luckier ones. Still, he is optimistic that his home country will get back on its feet quickly, even though the typhoon has already killed at least 127 people in the Philippines, with more than 100 people still missing.

“It was disheartening seeing news about casualties and seeing pictures of damaged and flooded areas,” dela Fuente said. “[But] floods are very common in the Philippines, and many of us have learned to prepare and cope with such a disaster.”

With the typhoon brewing, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Marc Wais sent outreach letters to the 101 students enrolled in NYU’s Washington Square campus who have permanent addresses in the Philippines.

“I write to you, and other students from the Philippines, to let you know the NYU community is thinking of you, and all those affected by Typhoon Mangkhut,” Wais wrote. “We are saddened by the loss of life, and by the hardships faced by those in the storm’s path.”

The letter also went to NYU’s online students who live in the impacted areas, although the NYU Abu Dhabi and Shanghai campuses were not required to send letters to their affected students. In it, Wais encouraged students to reach out to the Wellness Exchange if needed. Wais also suggested students contact the StudentLink Center or Office of Global Services if the typhoon affected their finances.

“If a student needs money to travel back home or if family financial circumstances change as a result of the storm, [this] may result in additional financial aid assistance,” Wais clarified in an email to WSN.

Although the letter reached students with permanent residences from the Philippines, Mangkhut reared its ugly head in other parts of the South Pacific as well.

In Hong Kong, the typhoon was the strongest storm on record, setting off the city’s highest storm warning: the Tier 10 alert.

LS first-year Hung Harvey Tsoi hails from Hong Kong and said the greatest obstacle so far has been damage to infrastructure, not to individual property.

“Traffic was a mess for the past week [because of] damage to city infrastructure,” Tsoi said. “The subway system was jammed, and highways were either damaged or blocked.”

Tsoi said one his friend’s windows broke in the high winds but that his home was spared from the wrath of the storm.

The flooded athletic field at Durham Academy in North Carolina.

“But to be honest, nothing was really affected on the personal level,” Tsoi said. “To us, it’s just another summer typhoon.”

Although the NYU students who spoke to WSN were not directly affected by the typhoon, Mangkhut has been the strongest storm in the world so far this year.

Meanwhile, in the United States, Hurricane Florence continues to wreak havoc up and down the Carolina coast.

Sydney Lin is from Durham, North Carolina. The Steinhardt first-year regretted being away from her family as they faced high winds, tornado warnings and power outages.

Although her family home was not damaged by the hurricane, her old high school was forced to close on Monday because of power outages. The school was also subject to considerable flooding on its tennis courts and football field.

“I was definitely nervous about the storm and felt guilty for not being there for my family,” Lin said. “They were expecting it to be really bad up until it downgraded to a tropical storm.”

As for Wais’ letter, Lin appreciates NYU’s efforts and hopes it will be enough for students whose homes were hit harder than hers.

“I appreciated that NYU reached out to its students who may be going through a tough time,” Lin said. “I do hope they have offered additional assistance to those from the coast. They need all the help they can get.”


A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 24 print edition. Email Sarah Jackson at [email protected]