Saturday, 3 November 2012

The Thin Veneer Of Civilisation

Its when disaster strikes that its easy to see just how vulnerable we are; how thin is the veneer of civilisation. And how unsustainable is our way of life.

And also funny how those who want smaller government are among the first to blame lack of spending in an emergency.

Remember how the Icelandic volcano stranded millions of people far from home. Or the icy roads a couple of years ago that stayed icy for a week, the country seemed to run out of grit.

After Sandy many millions in NY are withought light and power for a week. Tunnels remain flooded and that will take some time to fix. Much of the dewatering equipment is old and now damaged by corrosive salt water.

At least people had warning and took precautions.

In 1992 a river leaked into the Chicago subway system causing massive flooding. It took two weeks to pump out the water and another nine months of additional work including the installation of metal doors.

In Staten Island, borough president James Molinaro called the Red Cross an “absolute disgrace” and even urged the public to cease giving them contributions.

In an interview with NBC, Molinaro said: “You know, I went to a shelter Monday night after the storm. People were coming in with no socks, with no shoes. They were in desperate need. Their housing was destroyed. They were crying. Where was the Red Cross? Isn’t that their function? They collect millions of dollars. Whenever there’s a drive in Staten Island, we give openly and honestly. Where are they? Where are they? I was at the South Shore yesterday; people were buried in their homes. There the dogs are trying to find bodies. The people there, the neighbors who had no electricity, were making soup. Making soup. It’s very emotional because the lack of a response. The lack of a response. They’re supposed to be here…. They should be on the front lines fighting, and helping the people.”

"While dozens were able to get free dry ice on Thursday and the Red Cross started handing out ready-to-eat meals, according to CBS, some frustrated residents say they simply need more supplies to brave the storm's aftermath.
"It's great that it's something, but I honestly expected maybe like a blanket," one resident told CBS. "How long is this going to last? I mean, it's just a joke."
While Staten Islanders may be certain they’re being shortchanged, some experts say this level of aggravation is just a common response in the wake of such devastation.
“I think obviously in any sort of disaster context there’s always going to be a fair amount of frustration about how quickly things happen,” Keith Tidball, disaster education program director at the Cornell Cooperative Extension, told NBC."

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