The effects of Hurricane Sandy cannot be ignored

El McCabe


Hurricane Sandy was more than just a storm: it was a life-altering and destructive force that forever changed the lives of millions up and down the East Coast. Being a native New Yorker, this last week has been painful hearing off-hand the effects Sandy had on my hometown and people in my community. Personally, my family went without power for a week, but was safe from most of the wrath of the hurricane. Not everyone proved to be as lucky. New York and other states on the eastern seaboard have been referred to as a “war zone” in the aftermath of the hurricane. Over 10 days later, bodies are still being found–a fact that the media is doing a terrible job of reporting. Thousands of families are homeless and lost everything they had. After hearing all these horrifying stories, the obvious question appeared in my mind: how did the country let conditions get this bad?

To answer this, it is important to note the public attitude toward the storm prior to the disaster. The hurricane started off as an exciting prospect that almost guaranteed no school in most states including Pennsylvania. A few days before the storm hit, Hurricane Sandy was the subject of hundreds of exuberant Facebook statuses, memes and countless “SpongeBob”/“Grease” references. However, once the severity of the storm was realized, all the jokes and school closings were no longer funny. The mild effects of Hurricane Irene last year left the public feeling arrogant that this storm was “over-hyped” yet again, and many Americans failed to heed warnings to evacuate their homes. These individuals are paying for their choices now and truly have nothing but the clothes on their backs. Relief efforts are finally starting to be taken in damaged communities, but there is a long way to go before balance can be restored.

As college students, we are inherently isolated from the rest of the world without our parents informing us or overhearing the news, so it is likely most of you are unaware of the state of parts of the country outside of the “Bucknell Bubble.” The east coast needs help, and it needs it fast. Donations are strongly encouraged, as is spreading the word about the nightmare some Americans continue to face. Thousands of people lost everything they owned, so even donating basic supplies such as toiletries, old clothes and even small cans of food can seriously make a huge difference. I know that as soon as Thanksgiving Break hits, I will be doing my part in helping the recovery process. If you are looking for ways to get involved, just try reaching out to relief organizations. Small efforts are all it takes to make a world of difference, and educating yourself on happenings outside of campus is the first step in helping our nation restore the damage done by Hurricane Sandy.

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