Despair. Anger. Frustration. Hopelessness. Sadness. Disappointment.
This is just a brief list of the emotions that folks impacted by Hurricane Sandy are feeling. It is impossible to understand what the citizens of the hard-hit areas are feeling. Many have lost everything - homes, belongings, businesses, and likely along with this - optimism.
While Hurricane Sandy occurred a little over a week ago, the east coast was blasted again today with a nor'easter. Normally a nor'easter does not garner much attention, but when people are still without power, heat, housing, gas, and jobs - the impact of such a storm only escalates.
The questions that many people are asking now are: did it have to be this bad? Were there any warning signs? Could the city of New York and state of New Jersey been better prepared? What do we do now - how do we rebuild?
Of course there are no easy answers to these questions and already there has been much finger pointing. Yes, there were missteps, miscommunications, and action plans that were not executed. Consider this summary of the 2009 meeting of American Society of Civil Engineers (held in New York City):
- These engineers emphasized that a devastating storm would be likely to hit the city. Using computer simulations of an expected storm, these engineers showed city officials what could happen if safety and disaster recovery measures were not taken.
- The engineers provided city officials with detailed plans showing how New York City could be protected from an impending hurricane or similar storm.
- Recommendations were made to install surge barriers or tide gates in New York Harbor.
- Admittedly these barriers would not have been installed in time to protect the city from the most recent natural disaster.
- City officials blanched at the estimated cost of such protective measures.
- Such technology has been installed in London, England and in the Netherlands.