The Hurricane No One Prepared For

Well, the hurricane known as Sandy has been raising hell on the east coast recently. It broke a lot of records and hurt a lot of people and places. But unfortunately it has also highlighted the many flaws in our thinking and preparation for such a disaster.

For instance in both New York and New Jersey (the two hardest-hit areas) the people were warned about the event more than a week in advance, and increasingly warned the closer the day came. Many of areas with some of the largest populations in the U.S. were evacuated. This is not a decision that is taken lightly. You don’t just evacuate several thousands of people every Tuesday. It’s hard work. And even then people stayed. PEOPLE STAYED IN THE AREAS THAT WERE ABOUT TO BE HIT BY A RECORD BREAKING STORM! It was forecast as such, it even absorbed several other storms just to make sure that it had enough power to blow everyone’s expectations away. I can’t imagine what was going through there minds! Did they think it was an elaborate hoax and that everyone was lying to them? And it wasn’t like it was just the news media warning them. Police and civilian emergency response organizations went door to door and asked people to leave. And still people disobeyed the law and stayed. They disobeyed the law and stayed in the path of the storm. Why? I just can’t fathom. If a hurricane was about to hit me I’d beat it. I do admit I am in the middle of the desert but the same instinct applies to tornadoes, earthquakes, and fires which we do have around here. Why not just leave?

But that is not the real problem. The problem is everyone went back. Why would you go back to a place that just got hit by the largest storm in the history of the area the day after it hit? You know the electricity is guaranteed to be out. You know there will be no heat for your house, or lights, or anything. And you know there will be no gas because it’s not like gas stations are magically immune to hurricanes. The people in New York and New Jersey in the areas that got hit shouldn’t be there. They shouldn’t be anywhere near there. They should be staying with the family members or friends that live the closest. And if the don’t have any family or friends they should make some friends. Who wouldn’t let a hurricane victim stay in their house for a few days? They should be doing that and not being back and causing more harm than good. And if they are there they sure as hell shouldn’t be complaining or demanding help. It was their choice to go there or stay, and it is their fault they are in such a bad position. Being there is just making it worse for them and everyone else, especially the people who are trying to help them.

But that might have been less of a problem if people had prepared. Wall Street was, it opened the next day and is running just fine. Everyone else was adequately warned. They should have been prepared. They should have moved their belongings. They should have left town, they should have done everything in their power to help themselves. Instead they did nothing. And now they’re paying for it.

However they were not the only ones ignorantly not preparing. President Obama, when confronted with the news that the biggest storm in recorded history was about to hit the east coast promptly said (paraphrased) “I have to get reelected now, tell me when it hits”. I can understand perhaps why he had no plan for when a hurricane hits, but he could have easily made one in the time he had running up to the storm. I guess he didn’t have time to make it eighty-thousand words and a billion dollars over budget.

Even organizations meant to help people in times of disaster spent none of their time preparing. Most government or non-government aid organizations were not preparing in the week before the hurricane. And afterward they even dared to seem startled by the damage. As if hurricanes just don’t do things like this. FEMA didn’t prepare and now everyone wants its help. It’s understandable that some non-governmental organization like the Red Cross might not be ready, but FEMA, FEMA has to be ready, and now everyone wants something from it. Perhaps they should have asked us down here when we were having the largest fires in the area’s recorded history and all the “help” we got from FEMA was a few words.

Really people shouldn’t be in the New York/Jersey area and people should listen when a record breaking storm is approaching. When we were having these fires I knew exactly what I was going to save, and how I was going to get out. Certainly I didn’t expect to have a house left when I got back, let alone POWER. They should feel lucky they have anything, especially those whose homes didn’t get washed away (those whose did should feel lucky to be alive). All I’m saying is, that when it hits the fan, know to step out of the way, get in a sealed suit, and don’t expect to not get hit.

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