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wundayatta's avatar

What do you think of the "where's the help?" sentiment?

Asked by wundayatta (58349 points ) November 2nd, 2012

I’ve been hearing Gov. Christie complain about how slow the power companies are in restoring power. I have heard complaints elsewhere about FEMA not showing up in Staten Island. Many people on the radio seem to be echoing the complaint seen in this picture.

It gives me a feeling of disquiet and I wondered if anyone else felt this way. There’s part of me that thinks that this is the biggest storm in forever to hit this part of the country, and you just can’t organize help that fast. We don’t have information about where everyone in need is. We don’t know what their needs are. And we don’t even know where the stuff is yet. So be patient.

And you’re asking for money already? Would you expect insurance to show up that quickly?

It just feels like people are sticking out their hands in an insistent way that isn’t helpful. Maybe I’m wrong. But it also seems like people are expecting more from government than government can do, and I wonder if they aren’t happy with the results, would they vote for politicians who think government should do even less?

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8 Answers

janbb's avatar

I have been sitting in an insurance agency (my family’s) for two days and cannot believe the volumes of calls or types of losses coming in. I agree with you. The people here are working overtime and all hands on deck to get the claims in. It will take time.

zenvelo's avatar

Yes, people get impatient. And FEMA and similar agencies take the brunt of it. But I don’t think it is a new reaction, just one that is more visible because of instant communication. People feel powerless and out of control.

Meanwhile, there is some triage going on. Some areas, like the Jersey Shore, it seems they have to figure out what to even do. Staten Island feels ignored, but it’s a matter of immediacy; a lot more people (elderly) are stuck in high rises in Manhattan with no ability to get up or down 25 or 30 floors, while most people on Staten Island can at least get outside to complain.

SpatzieLover's avatar

They need money to pay for contractors to do things, so yes, I understand it. FEMA needs to get in there with trailers to help.

Would I expect money to show up that quickly??? Well, I pay FEMA to bring in trailers and help with not only getting people set up in shelters, but also to set their mobile offices up so people can file a claim. FEMA should be set up almost immediately after any natural disaster in the USA, IMO.

As for the power companies, most likely they are hoping for some Federal aid to help dig out areas around transformers that need repair…so see, there’s that need to see if money is on it’s way or not.

bkcunningham's avatar

I love these photos. They help make it real to me.

wonderingwhy's avatar

When you have to rely on others and are largely helpless that can be a horrible feeling, especially when they don’t show up and things are getting worse. But aid takes time.

Could we and should we do a better job, of course; can we be better prepared and better focused, unquestionably. But it amazes me how there’s always some group of able-bodied people of all persuasions that, when they think help’s on the way, just sit there with their hands out, whining, until it arrives – even when quite a bit is being done. It’s only been a couple days and we’re talking about a very large and densely populated areas. I’m not picking on anyone in particular with the current disaster, I haven’t really been following, mainly just thinking back on my own experiences.

I guess I just don’t get that. It’s a disaster. Do what you can to stabilize yourself first, no need to add to the problem. Then get out there and lend a hand, better yet lend two and let FEMA and the other agencies do their thing. Sure you have to keep on top of them and none of that’s not going to get utilities up and running, emergency care, or stable supplies and shelter but it’s a hell of a lot more productive than complaining about the situation. There’ll be plenty of time for that after.

YARNLADY's avatar

I understand their frustration, and a certain amount of pushing is necessary – but I don’t like the attitude that people can’t seem to help themselves, but must wait for someone else to do it.

That very attitude is why some people in New Orleans are living in rebuilt houses on blocks that still have the ruins of their neighbors. They got in there and did something for themselves.

deni's avatar

Unbelievably huge city sitting on the coast waiting to get hit by a huge storm sooner or later. What do they expect? I get it, it’s a tragedy and people have lost all their belongings. But yeah. I feel you.

jerv's avatar

Many people forget that they are not the center of the universe, and a lot forget that other puerile even exist. Sure, when natural disasters struck where I lived in rural NH, I also wanted help immediately, but I recognized that the cities came first, then larger towns, and that there was only so much that could be done so fast. Yeah, it took 11 days to restore power after that ice storm that also knocked out 450,000 other homes across three states, but look at the scale of the work that needs doing and eleven months seems quick.

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