Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Personal Journey After Hurricane Sandy 2012

Everyone talks about the damage to the coastal areas of New Jersey, Staten Island and Long Island, from Hurricane Sandy.  Clearly, those areas bore the brunt of the storm.  Northwestern New Jersey didn't register as even a tiny blip of concern among lawmakers and media.  But this was my story from New Jersey.  Every single road in my town had a tree that fell across it.  It was impossible to get in or to get out.  Sidewalks were largely impassable due to the debris of fallen trees.
Everywhere you went in Morris County, NJ, which lies 20 miles west of New York City, you saw giant oaks, pine trees, and other ancient trees yanked up at the roots lying next to or crushing equally old homes.
Telephone poles crumpled up like tinker toys.  We had no power, electric, internet, television or phones for two weeks.  We were among the last to get power back in New Jersey.

Some homes got "lucky" like this one and the tree missed the house.
The root structures of these massive old trees made you realize, with sadness, the hugeness of the loss.  While we were very lucky that no trees hit our own house, we were homeless for two weeks.  We stayed with various friends who either had some power or a generator.  Our house was 35 degrees inside - especially the week of the Nor'easter Storm when we also got 3 inches of snow on the ground!
This is me standing in front of a tree that fell on power lines.  The tree had literally been on fire for over a week before the utilities company got around to fixing it.
This photo gives you a good idea of the size of the roots of these trees...
These residents got lucky and were able to contact a tree company before the big rush.  Getting debris removed was another whole issue in itself.
Another sidewalk view.

Inside this supermarket, essential supplies like milk are clearly running very, very low a week after the storm.  I was able to hitch a ride to a supermarket with a friend, since I had no gas in my car to get there myself.

Nearly two weeks after the Hurricane hit, some towns in our County began to see power and tree company workers for the very first time.  New Jersey had more than 2 million residents without power for a very long time.  With Of the 11,000 utility workers working in New Jersey, 9,000 were from out of state.  Montclair, for instance, had workers from Tennesee, Florida and Kentucky.  My town only had workers from Ohio.  Northern New Jersey was basically ignored for the first two weeks while workers focused exclusively on Southern and Coastal New Jersey areas.  Thank God for the kindness of others!
I had to cast my presidential ballot in another County since I couldn't live in my house.  Here I am casting a "Provisional Ballot," granted to hurricane victims displaced by the storm, in a cardboard "booth" where I was given a pencil (with no eraser) to fill in all of my personal information which remained on the outside of the envelope into which I inserted my penciled-in ballot for United States president, vice president and a bunch of politicians I had never heard of from this district.  Theoretically, anyone could disqualify my vote simply by erasing my penciled data on the outside of my ballot!  I would say it is definitely time to start thinking about updating our voting techniques.  This doesn't even rate methods used in corrupt Third World nations... Pathetic!

New Jersey began gasoline rationing and odd-even days when you were allowed to buy gas.  We waited in gas lines 5 hours long only to arrive and have the station run out of gas!  After 9 days of not being able to get gas for the car, my son jumps on a gas line for hand-held gas cartons and pulls of a miracle!  Finally we have enough gas to get home again!