That’s what first responders were left to do after being deployed by FEMA to assist in the storm-ravaged areas in the initial days after superstorm Sandy, FoxNews.com has learned. A FEMA worker who spoke to FoxNews.com described a chaotic scene at New Jersey’s Fort Dix, where emergency workers arrived as the storm bore down on the Atlantic Coast. The worker said officials at the staging area were unprepared and told the incoming responders there was nothing for them to do for nearly four days.
“They told us to hurry, hurry, hurry,” the worker, who works at the agency’s headquarters in Washington and volunteered to deploy for the storm recovery effort. “We rushed to Fort Dix, only to find out that our liaison didn’t even know we were coming.”
“The regional coordinator even said to us, ‘I don’t know why you were rushed here because we don’t need you,’” said the worker, who spoke out of frustration with the lack of planning and coordination following the devastating storm.
This article appeared on September 10, 2011 in the New York Times, calling for swift action on building disaster-mitigating infrastructure such as “sea walls” around New York City, to prevent Sandy-force hurricane damage post-Irene one year before. As this article shows, one year and almost two months before Superstorm Sandy hit, storm experts were already worried about how vulnerable New York and its environs were to increasingly-violent coastal storm events, now rendered even more so in Sandy’s wake. While some planning experts are calling for 100-year planning horizons, the city had been in the process of spending more than $2 billion over the course of 18 years, clearly a drop in the needs bucket, and too late for Sandy and its aftermath just one year later.
Only a year ago, [city officials] point out, the city shut down the subway system and ordered the evacuation of 370,000 people as Hurricane Irene barreled up the Atlantic coast. Ultimately, the hurricane weakened to a tropical storm and spared the city, but it exposed how New York is years away from — and billions of dollars short of — armoring itself. “They lack a sense of urgency about this,” said Douglas Hill, an engineer with the Storm Surge Research Group at Stony Brook University, on Long Island. Instead of “planning to be flooded,” as he put it, city, state and federal agencies should be investing in protection like sea gates that could close during a storm and block a surge from Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean into the East River and New York Harbor.
Around 1.8 million Haitians have been affected by Hurricane Sandy, according to data collected by the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The number comes after an earlier report saying 1.2 million Haitians faced food insecurity as a result of the storm, which killed 60 people in Haiti.
Up to 2 million people are at risk of malnutrition in Haiti, according to Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the OCHA.
The OCHA, which has expressed continued concern for the nearly 350,000 Haitians still living in tent camps for displaced persons from the 2010 earthquake, said that while most tent residents that had been evacuated before the storm returned home, around 1,500 people remain in 15 hurricane shelters in Haiti.
Late last week, a spokesperson for the UN World Health Organization said there was limited access to health services and restocking supplies due to impassable rivers and damaged and obstructed roads.
The WHO also warned that poor sanitary conditions could increase the risk of cholera transmission, which has reportedly already seen a rise since Sandy.
Cold temperatures and a Nor’easter loom over Sandy survivors still without power and heat. Temperatures dipped down to 39 in New York City Saturday night and are expected to get even colder Sunday night. Weather Underground co-founder Dr. Jeff Masters expects the mid-Atlantic and New England to face an early-season Nor’easter on Wednesday bringing strong winds and heavy rains to areas still affected by Hurricane Sandy.
In New York’s transportation woes, there is finally a silver lining. New Yorkers are biking and carpooling in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s impact on all modes of motorized transportation.
In the midst of congested transit left in Super Storm Sandy’s wake, more New Yorkers are opting to ride bicycles.
“Yesterday we outsold our busiest summer Saturday,” said Emily Samstag, manager of Bicycle Habitat in Brooklyn, speaking to a surge in bike-related sales just one day after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the East Coast. “Our first customer walked in and said: ‘The subways are down so I have to buy a bike’. That was standard all morning.”
Salt is a strong electrical conductor. Ocean water is full of salt. Once the salt dries, it can wreak havoc as power utilities restore electricity.
Several small explosions rattled storm-weary residents of Peter Cooper Village late Friday night and even blew two manhole covers as Con Edison was restoring power to the area. The latest apparent nastiness from Hurricane Sandy — days after the nightmare storm — caused no injuries, according to paramedics and Con Ed officials on the scene. Officials said the explosions occurred when the utility started restoring electricity and the current hit salt on the power lines. The salt was the remnant of a 10-foot wave of East River water that crashed through the complex at the height of the storm Monday.
New York parents on food stamps are not able to feed their children.
Many of the low-income residents receive cash and supplemental nutritional assistance from the state electronically through what the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance calls Electronic Benefit Cards EBT.Recipients buying eligible foods are suppose to swipe their EBT cards like any other credit card for their purchases but since Hurricane Sandy hit, most Lower East Side stores don’t have electricity to run credit card transactions and are only accepting cash. Leaving many people on EBT with empty wallets, empty refrigerators and no access to food.
Another post-hurricane threat: panthers and wild animals.
YULEE, Fla. – Two young panthers are being tracked in northeast Florida after Hurricane Sandy knocked down the enclosure fence where they were being raised.
A statement from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the juvenile panthers, outfitted with radio collars, are being tracked in Yulee in Nassau County. Both are out of their pen but have been located by wildlife officials and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service using telemetry to track the radio-collars on the panthers.
The cats have not traveled far from their pen. Officials are working diligently to return them to their enclosure.
The cats were captured when they were 5 months old in northern Collier County last September.
Scientists estimate that between 100 and 160 adult and sub-adult panthers live in South Florida.