Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Assessment of the Super Storm’s Aftermath

Several states in the northeastern part of the U.S. (primarily NJ, NY, PA, WV, CT, & VA) have been hard hit as never before.  The long-term effects will likely be even more devastating and more costly than those of 9/11.  Yes, the wind, rain and flooding has slowed and moved on, but the worst might be yet to come...and it could begin to happen quickly.

Within the severely hit areas, I fear that the situation on the ground might be much worse and less optimistic than people are being led to believe.  I certainly hope I am wrong.

A number of businesses using generators will attempt to limp along at reduced levels as fuel supplies permit.  However, it will likely take weeks, if not months, to patch the basic infrastructure enough for it to function in ways resembling normalcy.  The damage caused by “Sandy” is unprecedented.  Also, winter is only a few short weeks away bringing its life-threatening cold and snowy weather.

Consider this for those hardest hit areas:

* Power outages have affected many millions of people in several states.  Granted, power will be restored in various locations within a few days, but much of it will not return for weeks, if not longer.

* Loss of power means no heat and lights; no sewer system; no food available; no ATM or debit card usage; no credit cards; no local banks; no fuel; no shopping; and limited phone systems.

* Flooding has caused roads and bridges to be damaged or destroyed; contamination of potable water; extensive damage to homes, schools, and businesses; damage to electrical systems; damage to automobiles; and damage to subway systems.  Historical sites have been damaged.

* Public unrest will begin to set in within a few days as desperate people struggle for survival.  Widespread looting by roving gangs will surely happen as the "have not's" forcibly take from those that "have".  Desperate people are dangerous people, and innocent lives will be at risk.  

* Large areas will likely be declared uninhabitable...forcing people into mass shelters for extended periods.  Those leaving on their own will need to relocate many miles away.

* Thousands of people will be homeless for months or longer, and many will never return to homes that have largely been demolished beyond repair.

* Business failures will happen as they are abandoned due to destruction and/or lack of public support.

* The waterfront docks for commerce will likely not be fully usable for days or weeks.

* What has happened to the numerous nuclear power plants in the storm's path?

* Where will the billions of funding dollars, qualified manpower, equipment, and materials come from for the rebuilding effort?

* It is one thing for a disaster to occur with several months of "good" weather ahead, but it is quite another thing that winter is just around the corner. 

* In the coming weeks, many people could die from starvation, exposure, lack of medical care, violence, loss of mobility, employment loss, and the inability to mentally cope with their losses.

* Insurance costs will rise to unaffordable levels for many; food costs will skyrocket from the drain on nationwide supplies; and fuel costs will surely increase as well.

Our prayers must go out to all affected by the storm, for there are many who are hurting and under emotional distress.    Pray for those who have suffered the loss of loved ones, and who have experienced destruction of their homes.  Pray that they would lean on the Lord for comfort, strength, and provision...the only sure hope during the difficult days and weeks that lie ahead.  

We must remember that even after several years following hurricane Katrina, many areas in and around New Orleans have not yet been repaired or rebuilt.  In spite of best efforts, will areas of NY, NJ, and other states suffer the same fate?  In my opinion, that is a definite possibility.


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