Storm Floods United Nations’ In-plant

The northeast is still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, with power outages and structural damage impacting millions. New York City endured some of the worst of the flooding, with water from the East and Hudson Rivers filling the streets. On Monday, that water surged over FDR Drive and through the doors of the United Nations’ in-plant.

Narendra Nandoe, chief of the UN’s Publishing Section, estimated that the in-plant was under three feet of water at one point. It submerged the shop’s two Océ VarioPrint continuous-feed printers, its Canon VarioPrint 6010 and its other offset and bindery equipment. River water filled the prepress, printing, binding and distribution areas, as well as the offices of the Publishing Section.

Nandoe said it was too soon to know how bad the damage was. Océ technicians were due to inspect the equipment Friday. He noted that the damage could have been much worse though.

“Our safety and security people were tremendous,” he praised. “They managed to shut the power off to the plant, and I think that probably will go a long way in saving a lot of equipment.”

Once the water had receded, Nandoe toured the facility, but said it was difficult to tell if any machines had been compromised.

“The force of the water was pretty intense,” he told IPG. Rubber floor mats were moved about 20 feet from their original locations.

The in-plant’s 100 employees have not been able to return to work.

“For me, the biggest concern now is that I don’t have a place for my staff,” he said. He has been looking for temporary work space for them while cleanup proceeds. By the end of next week, he hopes the operation is 50 percent operational, but returning to normal will take much longer.

“My best case scenario would be about a month from now,” Nandoe said.

IPG has been trying to contact other New York in-plants since our Philadelphia offices reopened on Wednesday. Many are without power and can’t be reached. Those at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Fashion Institute of Technology, Barnard College and Bloomingdales, all safely away from the flooded areas, are operational, though suffering staff shortages.

In lower Manhattan, where the worst of the flooding occurred, the New York Stock Exchange is using generators to power its trading floor, but the in-plant is still without electricity. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has two printing facilities downtown. Despite repeated attempts, managers there could not be reached by our deadline.

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  • Peter Klit

    This really underscores the importance of having an up to date recovery plan. It doesn’t have to be as serious as a hurricane or an earthquake either. Disaster can strike any where, any time. Be prepared.