Earlier this week, a large storm, whose pressure was at the level we would expect from a category four hurricane, threatened the east coast of the United States. This storm turned inland toward the coast of New Jersey, and its northern winds flooded the city of New York. The Jersey coast is still in disrepair, homes are flooded, power is down, many have been injured or killed, and thousands have been displaced.
Disasters occur every day. However, this particular one was enough to shut down the largest public transportation system in the United States, and an entire state has been pummeled. During a time when we see a country divided, I worried about the consequences of this storm. Would politicians use it for political gain? Would those in unaffected regions ignore the calamity and complain that their local grocery was out of poppyseed bagels? Would the cities be unable to handle such a situation? While some may fall into this category, the majority have not.
Hurricane Sandy brought with it torrential downpours and surges that flooded an entire region. However, the aftermath brought a flood of a different nature. Residents from around the region, country, and world helped in whatever way they could. I spoke with a few people who were in the British and Australian Red Cross divisions, who were visiting for vacation. They stopped the trip short and used their past experience to help us. Friends and classmates dedicated countless hours to volunteer at shelters, hospitals, and various cleanup efforts. Those with more than their share gave their excess clothing and money to those displaced by the storm. Politicians crossed the isle and worked together. Medical students sacrificed a few hours of study time to triage patients. Graduate students did what they could to comfort patients at our local hospitals. People from all walks of life came together and found their way to do what they were able to do best. I was amazed at the self segregation of volunteers based upon expertise or past disaster relief experiences. This demonstrated, in a surge of realization, the flood of humanity that outpoured when neighbors were in need.
For those who are currently affected, please know that you are not alone. For those that are not, call your friends and family. I need not say this, but it couldn’t hurt to remind everyone.
I will not write about my experiences in this storm other than to say that I am safe and that I am humbled by those who have been with me the past few days. I am proud of my neighbors, my city, and my country in times like this.
I will also not add any information on the science or educational aspects of the storm. I hope this will give readers a chance to reflect in the same way this post was a reflection.
The blog will return to its regular programming shortly.