updated 28 Nov 2012, 22:08
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Wed, 21 Nov 2012
The New Paper
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Baby bonus for Singapore couple caught in Hurricane Sandy
by Benson Ang

NEW YORK - His wife was in labour and needed to get to hospital fast. But a huge hurricane was battering parts of the US east coast.

Power failed and public transport, including taxis, stopped running when Hurricane Sandy hit New York on Oct 29.

That was the situation Mr Lee Ser-Jin and Mrs April Lee, a Singaporean couple living in Manhattan, faced as they were getting ready to welcome their first child.

On Oct 30, Mrs Lee, 32, gave birth to a girl, Emma.

Not Sandy?

Mrs Lee said: "You won't believe how many people asked us that question, but no, we decided that we would (only) use it as a nickname for our daughter when she misbehaves."

Emma arrived just after Sandy had done its worst damage to Manhattan.

The couple recalled how they were trapped by the storm and worried if they could reach the hospital in time.

Their apartment on William Street, in Manhattan's financial district, was not in a compulsory evacuation zone and their original plan was to ride out the storm at home.

But just hours before Sandy hit, they were told that their electricity and heating might be cut in case of severe floods.

Mr Lee, 33, who is with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, told The New Paper over the phone from New York, where he is based: "When I heard the flooding could be worse than expected, I realised we'd be in a bind.

"There are no hospitals near my apartment, yet my wife's labour contractions were not sufficiently advanced to justify immediate admission. The subway was also down and taxis were asked to stay off the roads."

Mrs Lee, a housewife, was due to give birth on Nov 1. The couple planned for this to take place at the Beth Israel Medical Centre, which is a 20-minute drive from their home.

Read the full story here.

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Mr Lee Ser-Jin and Mrs April Lee, faced a terrifying situation as they prepared to welcome their first child. (Photo: Lee Ser-Jin)
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