08 November, 2012

God bless weather forecasters, they predicted in proper time this great misfortune, hurricane Sandy, to be prepared for it. But the damage caused by it really was too great. Sandy turned to be the greatest natural challenger in American history.

Boston, where I live, experienced lesser damage compared to New York City, Long Island and New Jersey. And when it started at 6 pm on Sunday night I felt protected from wind and rain by red brick walls of my house

in the central part of the city. The only discomfort was uncontrollable penetration of water through closed windows. But I didn’t care having food in my fridge, a flashlight, and water in the bath tub in case some system would fail.

My sister who is living in Revere, in a large and toll apartment building close to the Atlantic ocean beach, was less lucky: Her house was trembling, shaking, lamps rolling, the noise made by the wind was horrifying, and floors had to be wiped all the time because of the incoming water. High ocean waves seen through her windows looked horrifying, and the wind was really destructive. On Monday morning she went to her office in the heavy rain but was told to go back. Schools, hospitals and other public institutions were closed.  The subway system flooded by water stopped working, people in the streets disappeared. But the state of Massachusetts survived Sandy, in relative terms, with much less losses than New York and New Jersey.

Devastation suffered by these two states can be compared to nothing. The number of human lives lost due to Sandy is fifty plus while material losses are from ten to twenty billion dollars. So many houses are totally destroyed, or burnt by fires. In Queens, an entire long street of houses, 110 altogether, were all burnt to ashes. They were built too close to each other, and even 200 firemen could not save just one of them in the hurricane wind when the fire started.

Sandy destroyed bridges, flooded tunnels, disrupted the New York City underground and power, water supply and telephone systems, interrupted, for days, public transportation in many cities and energy supply... Now, at this time of night, I am watching on TV an aerial view of New York City with a surreal  picture of large part of Manhattan submerged in total darkness. And there were visual reports on angry passengers trying to penetrate – with the help of fists – overcrowded buses after hours of waiting to get home after work.

Present power outages are to last for seven to ten days, according to the best promises, and flooded NYC subways could be paralyzed, at least partially, even for a longer time. I wonder how could people get to their jobs. The NYC hospital, the largest in New York, was left without electricity and had to evacuate 750 of its patients, including mothers with newly born children and immovable elderly people, to other medical institutions, endangering their lives. And that hospital is still  without power at this hour!

But to me, the most pathetic are aerial pictures of flooded, forlorn seaside cities and towns, with boatmen trying to save rare people from their houses submerged in water. Historic boardwalk in Atlantic City, merry-go-rounds and amusement parks, shops and tourist businesses are totally destroyed, mile after mile without interruption, for one thousand miles stricken by hurricane Sandy... “Unthinkable devastation,” according to Mr. Christie, NJ governor.

On the eve of November, 6 President Obama had to interrupt his election campaign and concentrate his efforts on helping the country to overcome aftermath of the disaster.

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