The Eerie Silence of “Post-Sandy”

Are you feeling it too? I couldn’t sleep tonight, thinking about Abbe, an HCC student who recently moved to New York City. Wondering what kind of life she faces over the next few weeks. After hearing that the death toll was low I felt some relief since the odds were, she survived. I saw the news reports indicating that emergency relief efforts were seeing to the essential needs of the people and felt some reassurance. I wasn’t hearing from her because the power was out and it would be back on soon. But I dug deeper and found out that the situation is dire.

So, I got up and built a fire, imagining that all of you who lay awake tonight wondering about friends and loved ones you haven’t heard from, are gathered around the embers where we can talk. Who are you looking for? Did they know this storm was coming, were they prepared for it with food and water storage? Means to stay warm and manage sanitation issues?

About a week before the storm I wrote Abbe to warn her. I don’t think she took my warning seriously until a few days later when she started writing for advice on how to prepare for it. “I’ve never had to prepare for a storm like this before…” she said. I told her about the importance of getting foods that didn’t need to be cooked, were nourishing & satisfying, inexpensive, didn’t need refrigeration – like oatmeal, dry fruit & nuts, cabbage for cole slaw, canned baked beans.  To fill every container in the apartment with water, including the bathtub to use to flush the toilet (assuming the plumbing worked). She wrote back, “How much food and water?” That scared me, she may think this will be over soon and the stores will provide?  And I told her to get enough blankets and warm clothing together to live without heat — newspaper to stuff inside her clothes for needed insulation. I forgot to tell her to keep her head covered since much of our body heat is lost through the head. Power would be out for up to a month, not to count on getting any help from FEMA or other government agencies.  And so on. I would have told her more but I didn’t want to scare her!!

I didn’t talk about what was going to be in the water that ran through the city, nor the rats New York is famous for and how they were going to be escaping flooded quarters to shelter alongside people.But all in all, I hope she had enough info to see her through … provided she doesn’t live in the neighborhoods of utter destruction. I don’t know where she lives1 Upper Manhattan is ok, lower Manhattan isn’t. In many areas entire houses were lost along with food supplies, water storage & winter wear. Those people are wandering around wondering when help will arrive.

I admit, I really wanted to believe the news media. I listened to the governor & mayor describe thorough emergency preparedness efforts and was impressed. It may be they’ve done all they are capable of, their very best. But it isn’t enough. For example, today I ready that FEMA doesn’t have any water to hand out until Monday1 I’d read about over 60,000 National Guardsmen who’d been mustered to aid the region…today I learned that Bloomburg won’t admit them into NYC (because they have guns)….that there are amphibious military supply ships with food, water, etc. sitting off the coast waiting, until the state invites them in. I saw videos of neighborhoods where no one has seen any sign of Red Cross or FEMA or any news from officials…places that were destroyed and the people have no water, no food, no power (no houses). And it gets worse.

What happened to the 50,000 homeless people in New York, most of whom live in the (flooded) tunnels? Were they evacuated? Warned? Invited into shelters? I’ve seen reports of much higher death tolls. Reports that 10-20% of New York City is permanently gone,.whatever that means. That over a $Trillion worth of stock securities were damaged. Then I read that the city isn’t allowing trucks with food in…only trucks for servicing repairs of needed infrastructure. Food isn’t getting into the city, people are dumpster diving for rotten food. Only 40% of the gas stations are able to sell gas (it’s rationed). I could go on and on, the conditions are shocking. So, where is Abbe in all this?

I’m thinking about the winter weather coming in…about where people are going to the bathroom (today I read it was in the hallways)…the rats, disease and over-burdened medical facilities. Survivors – how well are they prepared for all this? What do they know about DIY medical care? Self-sufficiency in extreme circumstances?

Our current Quest is on the bubonic plague. Now I suspect it could be timely. I feel driven to get more courses up to ensure that people know how to take care of themselves, that’s the best way I can help.

Do you know of any efforts to get supplies delivered (when transportation is again available) ?

When I finally hear from Abbe I’ll post it here. There’s a video of her on this blog, the one about fermenting Juniper berries. Please add her to your prayers.

Now, what about you? What do you know about the real situation on the East Coast? And do you have someone missing?  Though I can’t see you, I feel you in this eerie silence, laying awake … praying, wanting to help, wanting to KNOW…waiting.

Here’s a follow-up, dated November 8; through the grapevine I’ve learned that Abbe is fine, she lives in an elevated area of Brooklyn so the worst of the storm passed her by. My concern, however, remains — for so many  enduring this recent snow storm. Relief work seems to have picked up and progress is being made…but what to do about rising ocean levels?


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