"A lot of us out here are fighting for our lives,” said Feliciano, 51. “A lot of people are desperate. They don't know where they are getting their next meal.
After traveling six miles by foot and by bus to bring food home to her five children in Brooklyn’s Coney Island neighborhood, Cherry Barnett broke down in tears.
"I've had it,” she said. “I don't want to live here anymore. We can't live like this."
Gas rationing begins in New York City
When I called Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office to ask why so much of the relief effort had been left to volunteers, I got immense pushback.
Before the storm hit, Mayor Bloomberg said that New York City didn’t need FEMA’s help because the city had “everything under control.” You don’t have to spend much time in Queens to realize that New York City needs all the help it can get. It is extremely fortunate that it is getting so much help from volunteers.
When I asked one FEMA official what his workers were doing, he said they were mainly trying to make sure that residents applied for assistance. That is not insignificant, of course, but it’s not exactly leading the charge.
What do we know about how older adults fare, emotionally, in a disaster like that devastating storm, which destroyed homes and businesses and isolated older adults in darkened apartment buildings, walk-ups and houses?
“They’re afraid of being alone,” she said in a telephone interview a few days after the storm. “They’re worried that if anything happens to them, no one is going to know. They feel that they’ve lost their connection with the world.”
“In geriatrics, we have this idea of the ‘geriatric cascade’ that refers to how a seemingly minor thing can set in motion a functional, cognitive and psychological downward spiral” in vulnerable older adults, said Dr. Mark Lachs, chief of the division of geriatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College. “Well, the storm was a major thing — a very large disequilibrating event — and its impact is an enormous concern.”
Be mindful of worrisome signs like unusual listlessness, apathy, unresponsiveness, agitation or confusion. These may signal that an older adult has developed delirium, which can be extremely dangerous if not addressed quickly, Dr. Nathanson said.
The damage was so severe and so universal there can be little doubt plans for scores of weddings scheduled for the first weekend in November unraveled including Amanda and Michael’s.
On Nov. 1, Amanda and her mom, Stephanie, turned to their pastor, Msgr. Sam A. Sirianni, telling him that even though the wedding reception was cancelled by the venue because of the hurricane, the couple very much wanted their Church wedding. Despite the fact that the church was without light or heat, Msgr. Sirianni quickly agreed.
And, when Mrs. Santoro asked Msgr. Sirianni if it would be alright to bring in a sheet cake for a very small reception after the wedding, it set off a chain of events that soon escalated into a full-scale parish effort to give the young couple the closest thing they could to the reception of their dreams.
Walter Russell Mead, Hurricane Sandy and the Perils of Nanny State Governance
Here in New York we have a very busy government. It’s worried about the kinds of fats we eat and the size of the soft drinks we buy, and there is no shortage of regulations affecting businesses, street vendors, and individuals. But in all this exciting fine tuning, nobody seems to have bothered to think about the much greater task of keeping floodwaters out of the subway system. Admittedly, getting public support and finding the money for flood protection would be hard, but it is exactly that kind of hard job that governments are supposed to do. Leadership is getting the important things done, not looking busy on secondary tasks while the real needs of the city go quietly unmet.
William McGurn, Sandy and the Failures of Blue-Statism
The irony is that modern American liberalism has become a movement grounded less in practical politics than a sort of religious fervor—and often requiring the same strong faith in the face of disappointment and failure. The difference, of course, is that while religions often promise to deliver in the next world, government is supposed to do it in this one.Posted by Jill Fallon at November 10, 2012 10:28 AM | Permalink