Huddled in mattresses and sleeping bags among the garbage cans and cigarette butts, a group of homeless men in the US capital weathered “Snowmageddon” over the weekend outdoors.
Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser warned people to stay home as much as possible over the weekend and called on residents to look out for those who are most in need.
The city sends out vans to pick up people without a home. Around 1,500 homeless men and women in Washington can claim a bed at night.
But it was an offer that was refused by some who did not want to spend the night in a shelter.
“I don’t look to the city or the government to take care of me. I look to God to do that, so I’m not fearful or mindful of the weather,” said Bernard, huddled in a parka the morning after one of the worst snowstorms in recent history.
“It’s tough, but if you’re out here you have to be able to take it. There’s no other way,” explained Antonio Cabral.
Digging out of the weekend snow
As millions of people across the eastern US are digging through record levels of snow following the weekend’s mammoth blizzard, city authorities are now focused on getting the temporarily-paralysed capital working again.
The US capital was at the heart of the record-breaking snowstorm that covered parts of the US East Coast in up to a metre of snow.
At least 29 deaths have been reported since Friday, blamed mostly on car crashes or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Travellers remained stranded after 12,000 flights were cancelled over the weekend. The travel woes looked set to continue at the start of the work week with hundreds of flights cancelled for Monday.
The great blizzard of 2016 may be officially over, but DC authorities and residents still have to dig their way out of between 60 and 70 centimetres of snow – and that could take a while.
Date created : 2016-01-25