We Interrupt This Broadcast….

Fair Warning: This very brief post isn’t about crime fiction. I’ll be back tomorrow with more about crime fiction. Today there’s something much more important for me to share. Hurricane Sandy has left many thousands of people without homes, and millions without power. The storm has caused death, injuries and billions in damage, too.

Maybe you don’t live on the U.S. East Coast or the Caribbean, or know anyone who does. But at a time like this we all need to stand together and help one another. There are a number of things you can do to help.  Please, check out these options and consider one of them or another option of your own choosing.

Don’t do it ’cause I said so. Do it, please, ’cause it’s the right thing to do. Who’s with me on this??

Don’t worry, I’ll be back tomorrow with more crime-fictional stuff…


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18 responses to “We Interrupt This Broadcast….

  1. The pictures I’ve seen on TV today are shocking, Margot. It’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of money to help all these folks recover.

    • Pat – It really is awful – just awful. People are without power, water, or homes. The recovery is going to be a daunting task and it’s going to take time and as you say, a lot of money. It’s really upsetting.

  2. The images we’ve been seeing on TV are horrifying. We see natural calamities of that magnitude striking India a couple of times a decade, but there is a special horror in seeing man-made structures being subjected to that kind of lashing. Makes you feel like you are safe nowhere.
    My prayers are with them.

    • Natasha – Thank you. It really is a horrible situation. And you’re right; when structures like skyscrapers and big hotels are destroyed, it really does make one feel unsafe anywhere. Earthquakes give one the same feeling. It’s just an awful thing…

  3. I have family on Long Island but they seem to be coping OK. It looks a terrible storm.

  4. sue rosly

    Thanks for providing these links. I have this worrying feeling that there is a perception that “wealthy” countries don’t need help. Not true. (A specific donation can be made to the Salvation Army for victims of this hurricane if overseas readers want to help.)

    • Sue – Thanks for your suggestion about the Salvation Army. There are lots of ways for everyone to help and I’m truly hoping there’ll be a lot of generosity. It’s desperately needed right now.

  5. The main thing not to do is send canned food or items their way. Dealing with truckloads of that takes away vital manpower, uses gas, needs to be vetted. I wish people had told me this years ago.

  6. Most Indians thought America was invincible until 9/11. They still think it is compared to any other country in the world. On the other hand, we have never seen America devastated by natural calamities as we have since Katrina, thanks to the global e-media and the internet. Those awful images are now beamed right into our homes and I’m sure they touch each and every one of us considering that most countries, including India, have been exposed to natural disasters in one form or the other. What other nations can learn from America’s experience is how to get back on your feet and start moving. India, for instance, could learn from America’s disaster management plan. We have one but it’s mostly on paper. So you have superstorm Sandy taking less than fifty lives even as Cyclone Nilima in the south Indian coastal state of Andhra Pradesh taking more than 200 lives around the same time.

    • Prashant – I am truly sorry to hear of the devastation of Cyclone Nilima. How truly awful! One life lost is one too many. And if Sandy and Nilima teach us anything, it is that nobody is invincible. This is why in my opinion it is so important to work together globally, whatever our differences may be, when this sort of thing happens.
      You make a well-taken point too that today’s media has made it easy to find out what is happening around the world. That instant access has the power to mobilise everyone when it is needed. Yes you are right that disaster management plans are important. There is no doubt of that. But it is just as important that people remember that, as you say, this sort of thing ban happen anywhere, so we all need to stand together when it does.

    • Prashant- I am not sure I agree with you. We cannot compare Nilima and Sandy, because they are incomparables. Nilima hit rural India, which is densely populated, and doesn’t the physical infrastructure to enable easy evacuation. Fisherman out at sea cannot be contacted, simply because they cannot afford the technology to stay in touch with the shore. For all that India is an emerging economic giant, rural India is still very, very Third World, and it cannot be compared to a First World country like the US.
      Once disaster strikes, though, India can mange disaster better than most other countries. How many other nations, for instance, can boast of mobile hospitals and operating theaters that can reach the disaster zone within 36 hours.
      Just my two pence.

      • Natasha, thanks for replying to my comment. I thought of all the points you raised, valid as they are, even as I was responding to Ms. Kinberg’s post. I looked at the issue from a broader perspective: in the main, the central (federal) and state governments ought to have had a minimum disaster management plan in place for rural and small-town India at least two decades ago if not earlier considering that coastal India has been prone to storms and cyclones through centuries. Overpopulation, remote habitats, lack of communication, and weak infrastructure are no reasons for our governments to sit back and do nothing. The least they could have done during Cyclone Nilam (not Nilima, my mistake) was sound the warning bell and evacuate people, even if it was a logistical nightmare. I agree we are still more Third World than an Emerging Economy but you can’t forever hide under the tag “Hey, look, we are Third World. There’s really not much we can do.” The question is are we doing anything at all?

        • Prashant and Natasha – Thanks very much to both of you for your views. There are no easy answers to how we can best plan for disasters given the circumstances. And I don’t know if any plan could be foolproof. But it’s so important that we at least try.

        • You know what bugs me most, Prashant. The way people in the country (and I am from India too, as you might have guessed), dismiss Nilam as less of a tragedy simply because the people who are affected at rural and poor. On Facebook and Twitter, there is so much talk about Sandy, but nothing at all about Nilam. Sure, you and I are more likely to have friends who are affected by Sandy than by Nilam, but a poor fisherman is not a lower life form, is he?

          And yes, Nilam it is. I have a friend called Nilima who is from Andhra Pradesh, which is why I must have made the mistake.

        • And Margot, sorry for highjacking your post. Is the government doing enough is the perennial question among people who think. Prashant and I happen to disagree, but at least we both think about it- wish more people started doing that.

        • Natasha – Please don’t worry about ‘taking over’ my post. I am learning a lot and very interested in what you and Prashant have to say. And yes, the fact that you are both thinking about it and discussing it is the critical first step. If no-one asks the difficult questions and no-one debates the answers, those difficult challenges cannot be met.

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