During Hurricane Sandy, the site of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum complex was overcome by more than 16 million gallons of floodwater, which ruined wires and drywall and ravaged a handful of iconic artifacts.
In an emotional essay on the museum’s website, director Alice Greenwald described seeing “seven feet of standing water throughout the museum.”
“The humidity was thick, like a sauna,” she wrote. “This was a disaster.”
The site’s extensive flooding is renewing protests over a plan to move the 8,584 still-unidentified remains from 9/11 victims into a repository adjacent to the base level of the museum, seven stories below ground. Family members of the dead fear that putting the remains so far under the earth—in flood zone A, no less—leaves them unnecessarily vulnerable to the elements, particularly with researchers still actively conducting DNA tests on those body parts.