Hurricane Sandy, cost the United States at $ 50 billion (a conservative estimate), has once again demonstrated the inability of the federal, state, and city services to withstand natural disasters and protect the lives of ordinary Americans. Once again, the main heroes in the fight against the destructive forces of nature were ordinary people, not the president, Barack Obama, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie, and the Federal Agency for Emergency Management (FEMA).
The role of volunteers in the fight against Sandy is so great that many residents in the affected areas strongly questioned the effectiveness of government relief agencies.
"Why should our government spends billions of dollars on disaster management, if at the crucial moment of people left to their fate — is perplexed user named Richard on an Internet forum. — My children were rescued neighbors, clothes and food given acquaintances, and a roof over his head gave complete strangers. "
According to unofficial data, the volunteer after Hurricane engaged and continue to engage about 100,000 people (and it is only in the states of New Jersey and New York). For comparison, in the ranks of the federal FEMAsostoit 7,500 employees, and in the ranks of the Police Department of the Big Apple (NYPD) — 34,500 employees.
Here are just a few cases that demonstrate the nobility of ordinary Americans.
So, in Vesterlay (Rhode Island), the group of 250 volunteers rescued about 100 families from the devastated coastal homes. The victims received adequate assistance — from hot food and pocket money to wash and dry sodden things.
In Massachusetts, at least 300 small business owners have provided space for an overnight stay homeless. People have found shelter in existing restaurants, hairdressers, Groser, offices, churches, and even in private car parks.
Residents of eastern New Jersey together to clear roads of abandoned cars, fallen trees and mountains of debris. If you believe the comments on the social network Facebook, a group of two hundred volunteers managed to clear the segment length of 50 miles in just a few hours. Moreover, the volunteers moved the vehicles manually.
"I never thought that ten men of average build can easily move the mini-van," — wrote one of the enthusiasts.
A huge number of Americans used inflatable boats to rescue people from flooded areas. For example, a resident of Ocean City (Maryland) Scott Anhels alone has saved more than 40 people using the "six-seat piece of rubber worth $ 200, a primitive motor and eight gallons of gasoline."
Anhels wrote in his blog that the affected people were able to survive only because of the "Good Samaritans", that is, ordinary Americans who find themselves nearby.
In addition, thousands of volunteers arrived in flooded areas of the central states of the country. Buses and mini-vans from Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota went to New York and New Jersey immediately after the hurricane.
"For half an hour I was able to organize a volunteer trip, which was attended by users Facebook, — says a resident of Missouri Nancy Kounvey. — We have taken stock of canned food, water, batteries, warm clothing and even toys for young children. The people were very grateful to us for the sincerity and kindness. "
The organization of volunteer actions conducted primarily through the Internet, and perhaps for the first time in the history of natural disasters initiative of ordinary Americans enjoyed more support than the calls of large charities like the Red Cross (Red Cross). This phenomenon is explained by the growing mistrust of the population to a "great philanthropists," which began with the economic crisis (then a few "rescue organizations" were under investigation for embezzlement of money).
For example, a resident of Virginia Ann M. rightly remarked on his page on the social network: "It is better to buy drinking water at $ 100 and give it to the hands of the victims personally, I list the money and nowhere to consider himself the savior of lives."
It's hard to argue with Ann. Currently about 75% of the money donated to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, remains at the disposal of collectors (quite legally from the point of view of the law). Annual salary of the same leaders of the Red Cross and similar organizations exceed $ 500,000.
These volunteers do not hide behind organizations and even the public does not always mention their names. In New Jersey, for example, an unidentified resident of the shelter provided several new sleeping bags and inflatable mattresses, and paid for pizza delivery for dozens of homeless. His name "Good Samaritan" is not mentioned, and even asked not to take off his face on camera phones.
"I lost my house and car, but taking care of others admire, — says Manny Flores, a resident of the suburb of Atlantic City. — People are trying to help in every way possible. You will laugh, but one guy came to the shelter with his guitar and played for us a few songs of Elvis Presley. It looked so pathetic. "
Perhaps many readers will disagree with me, but the work of the National Guard (National Guard), the Red Cross and FEMA-nothing compared to the deeds of ordinary Americans. If it were not for the volunteers, the number of victims would be counted in the hundreds today. State (represented by mayors, governors and other officials) could help residents only at a very early stage — when received a warning from the Met Office (National Weather Service-NWS) and organized a mass evacuation of the most dangerous areas. After a 'visit' Sandy on the east coast of the rescue of drowning completely passed into the hands of drowning.
In my view, after Hurricane Sandy state should fully review the strategy to combat the effects of natural disasters. Today is much more effective to give each homeowner case with first aid (first aid kit, flashlight, radio, analgesic, compass, radio, map of the area, etc.) than to maintain on a regular salary of tens of thousands of national rescue and local scale, and produce primitive brochures, instructions for disaster management (such adores send Bloomberg administration).
But the most greatest injustice is that over time the heroic deeds of volunteers, eliminates the effects of Hurricane Sandy, will be forgotten. Major accolades honored with mayors and governors, and of these "volunteers with a big heart" who risked during rescue operations, no one even remembers …
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