Sandy was one of the most devastating storms ever to hit the East Coast. Sandy’s impact on the Tri-State area, the death and devastation, was and is horrific Pictures of Long Beach, Oceanside and Fire Island, to name a few examples, look like pictures of Haiti after an earthquake or bombed out cities from WWII. Whole communities are gone. People, some of whom are infants, the very aged and infirmed, are homeless, and without food, shelter, heat and all the other basics we take for granted until they’re no longer there.
As was the case with hurricane Katrina, the performance of FEMA and local utility companies, has been spotty, especially since the storm was well-publicized. They should have prepared better, but apparently they underestimated the storm and overestimated their ability to respond to it.
Some of the individual stories are absolutely heart-wrenching
1. Flood waters literally ripped two toddlers from their mother’s arms and swept them away.
2. Approximately 100 homes in Breezy Point, NY were burned to the ground by wind-swept flames because firemen could not reach them .
3. The death count is still rising; the value of property lost is incalculable.
4. To make matters worse, many people cannot get gas for their cars and generators. This is not due to a shortage of gas, but because (1) many gas stations have no power to run their pumps; (2) a couple of refineries were damaged by the storm; and (3) tankers full of oil are sitting offshore unable to dock because of the devastation to ports. The result is people having to wait in gas lines for hours to fill up, a scene reminiscent of the 1970s. Why did it take Governor Cuomo until Friday to institute odd-even gas rationing? It worked in the 1970s. It was working in NJ? Was it because Governor Christie thought of it first, and he didn’t want to be seen as copying his lead? I hope not.
In the midst of all this, politicians, FEMA and the utilities have been seen on television congratulating themselves on a job well done. Well, news flash! The rescue, recovery and rebuilding, not just of property but also of lives, is not done. It is just beginning.
Nearly two weeks after the storm insufficient progress has been made. Most of the attention of the media, politicians and relief agencies has been focused on the Jersey Shore and Manhattan. Well, we pay taxes too! We deserve better!