Sunday, November 11, 2012

"Alice In Waterland"

That's the title of a very interesting (and sobering) article describing the author's experiences during and after Hurricane Sandy in New York City.  Here's an excerpt to whet your appetite.

NYC combines the worst elements of the early industrial capitalist era (before the markets had a chance to improve urban working and living conditions) and the depths of Soviet style central planning, rationing and despair. It's exactly that Soviet style planning and reliance on the imperious local government that left New York so rife with suffering in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

. . .

The power flickered during the night as we all moved our basement furniture, files, and valuables to higher ground. Simultaneously, others were throwing their sewage laden belongings on the sidewalks. The pile-up of garbage was a scene from the Twilight Zone – and all occurring in the dark of night. Amidst the groans, cries and sobs of disbelief and loss, fire truck and ambulance sirens screamed all night long as everyone scooped up the rising water from their houses, if they were lucky to own a sump or transfer pump, then the dirty water damage was mitigated. Due to the sewage plant backup, there was no clean, sanitary running water for drinking, showering, toilets, etc.—in other words, no water, unless you were prepared with gallons of bottled water.

. . .

To protect the citizens and the gas stations, the National Guard were called in and local police are standing by at every gas station. Do we feel safe now or is this just another page out of the how to run a military state?

Now let's recap the series of events: no water, no power, no communications, no public transportation, no gasoline for vehicles (lack thereof). Now add one more problem to this dire situation: no working ATMs in the blackout areas. The same applies to credit card machines at businesses that managed to open their doors. CASH only if you need anything, food, water, medical supplies.

Highly sophisticated, educated people were cursing and assaulting others for limited gas and supplies. Homeowners that had their entire expensive beachfront homes destroyed in Rockaway Beach and Seagate for example were now homeless and bouncing from shelter to shelter. Looting was now prevalent in communities without power, water or much protection. One friend of mine in Rockaway was standing down with a gun as some looters opened his garage door to cause trouble – they fled when the gun was aimed at them. People were walking around like zombies, aimlessly trying to figure out how to start over again with nothing.

There's more at the link.

The author is using the article to promote a Web site offering financial services and perspectives that I personally would not use, but that doesn't diminish the usefulness of his 'lessons learned' description of events during and after Hurricane Sandy.  Recommended reading.



Joe said...

A good lesson that I think a lot of preppers miss and is mentioned here is to keep some cash on hand.

More people are going cashless, using credit and debit cards but forget all it takes is the loss of power and those pieces of plastic are useless.

suburban said...

We had family in NYC during Sandy. They prepared by buying a small generator. Unlike many they also bought a gas can. I hope they bought oil and power extension cords. All too many bought generators, but no gas cans or fuel, and no oil for the generator. After Sandy hit they tried to buy fuel and something to carry it in. I wonder how many generators were ruined because they were run without oil?

suburban said...

Sweden has gone close to totally cashless, but is now recommending to their citizens that they keep cash on hand for emergencies! Good to see them making such a recommendation.