‘ We need to watch out for each other.’
Amidst the fury and impending devastation of the approaching wintry storm to the US east coast states, I applaud that advice from the governor of an affected state. And with the 2012 US presidential Elections just days away, it is a timely test for human compassion to be displayed at its highest and noblest level. President Obama has stated that he was not worried about the effects of the storm on the election. It is his duty and responsibilty to minimise the loss of lives, the mitigation of sufferings and to preserve law and order. However, I applaud him when he told reporters that “I’m worried about the impact on families; I’m worried about the impact on first responders; I’m worried about the economy and transportation.” Right on…
Not pretty! These two words barely described the images and breaking news that came out over the weekend by the BBC, CNN and other news networks on Hurricane Sandy which wrecked havoc in the Caribbean. And just hours ago, the same Hurricane Sandy resulted in the closure of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Monday, 29 October 2012. The last time the NYSE was closed for weather reasons was some 27 years ago. It is going to be serious and it looks like the authorities are heeding lessons from Hurricane Katrina, and a non-partisan case study was produced by the BBC.
New York City
In “peaceful” times, New York City has something for everyone, both for her residents and for her many many visitors. I was three months ago when I had made a brief visit to catch up with my son there. I was on my way home after completing the Salkantay Trek and my visit to Machu Picchu. I remembered the disruption to my dinner plan and the wasted five hours when the airport at Newark was closed due to a bad storm. My United flight was diverted to Dulles in Washington DC. It had to queue in line for the tankers since it was not a scheduled flight there plus there were the other diverted flights which had to be refuelled too before returning to Newark. My fellow passengers were already getting more boisterous and unhappy. The crew simply did a great job handling out extra snacks and drinks and trying to answer the questions thrown at them. I did what I could to help pacify those around me – such as it’s better to be safe than sorry, why we had to wait for the tankers, why this and why that.
New York City, even Manhattan, is now shuttered. Transportation and the airports are closed. The NYSE suffered its unplanned closure again, this time for weather reason. Other cities along the east coast states are similarly affected and floodings are prevalent. Although the US weather authorities have reclassified Hurricane Sandy as a post-tropical cyclone, strong winds are continuing and conditions outside are still life threatening. The path of the storm is taking it to the Great Lakes and into central Canada. A possible worst-ever storm is in the making and with the potential to kill. The BBC has estimated that up to 50 million people (60 million by CNN) would be affected.
Staying indoors is a good advice. And keeping the emergencies free to respond to those in emergencies is being civic minded. It should never be another Katrina! I believe enough lessons were learnt. This is a good start; that CNN has an encouraging report :
Aid Groups Readying For Unprecedented Damage:
- Relief organizations are readying supplies and volunteers
- Red Cross, AmeriCares, Salvation Army and World Vision are preparing in the US
- International Medical Corps and Operation USA are providing aid to Haiti, Cuba
So, remember to watch out for each other.