A friend of THE WEEKLY STANDARD passes along this note he received from a friend (some names and places have been edited out):
Dear Friend, et al,
First off, I'm copying a couple of people on this e-mail in the hope they too might be able to help in some way, even if it is just to forward it to as many people as possible.
I'm hoping you can help me...or think of a good way to help! I live in the inner ring of hell formerly known as the tri-state area. We are in such horrific shape there are no words and most of us are living in conditions similar to those in post-Katrina New Orleans.
NOBODY IS LETTING THE WORLD KNOW HOW BAD IT REALLY IS!!!! We need HELP!!!! We have NOTHING!!!
I currently live in NY...in Westchester county...an area most people think is "rich"...ha, ha, ha...about 45 miles north and inland of NYC. I have been forced to drive up to my in-law's home in Maine, because our house has no power, heat, water or sewage, and no prospect of their return. In addition we have no access to gasoline, groceries, or food of any kind. Around 50 percent of our roads are closed and blocked by huge downed trees, power poles and wires. None of these are indicated until you literally find yourself facing a wall of trees, power poles, wires and transformers, and have to turn around and look for another route or attempt to bushwack under or around it in the woods. We are driving under and around huge trees that are laying across the road, suspended 10 feet up by the power lines on the roads that are considered open!!!
We left late Wednesday night for my in-law's in Maine with all the dogs and cats in tow when we had still not seen one single power truck, Red Cross vehicle, FEMA truck, military aid, or any other kind of assistance at all. Any tree removal to allow movement of any kind has been done by ourselves and our neighbors until the fuel for chain saws ran out and we moved all larger limbs from blocking roads and driveways using a chain to the hitches of our large SUV's and trucks when available.
As of Saturday 11/3, the power company estimates our power could be back by 11pm. They have already estimated and then had to "reassess" only to give a new estimate two or more days out to all others in our area already so I put no stock in this information at all. Most honest estimates say we will not have any vital services restored until around the 10th...which means we will have gone 12+ days with nothing.
All of my family and friends on Long Island and throughout the five boroughs of NY are in the same if not worse scenarios as they in most cases are also fighting flood waters. My sister-in-law and two nephews had to be evacuated by the National Guard because they didn't give ample warning to leave their particular area until flood waters were too high to drive. My mother waited on line for 3+ hours to get gasoline...on a line that required policing by local and state police or there can be violence or a riot if a person "cuts a line" or takes what others think is too much time or fuel. As generators at cell towers now begin to run out of fuel, what little cell service there was has disappeared, leaving us with NO way to communicate with anyone other than drive, which we cannot do due to lack of fuel, road closures and rules etc.
There are no banks or ATM's to get cash and no way to deposit funds into accounts. Nobody can run credit cards because there is no power. ATM's and banks that happen to have power or generators are running out or already out of cash or rationing the amount you can withdraw in cash.
People are helping close neighbors, family and friends but are ready to kill any outsider who turns up looking for supplies. Everyone sees their neighborhood as the "one not being helped" because they can't see any other area even ten miles away on TV or get any exposure to what's going on around them because without power there is no TV or Internet!
IT IS BAD. It's turning into a true justification of all the plans you see made on shows like "Doomsday Preppers." In this case, I personally chose the "bug out" plan because the people here in Maine, just four hours away, are blissfully going along with normal life!!
Here's the biggest kicker: the entire time, major companies and places of work (i.e. Goldman, Deutsche Bank, NYSE, Barclays, UBS, retail throughout the area, and even things as unnecessary at a time like this as debt collection companies) are attempting to force and pressuring employees to return to work...even though there is no power below 34th St in NYC, no subway, bus or taxi service, limited train service, closed/flooded tunnels and rules restricting the use of all bridges to cars containing at least three adults because there is no parking. A commute from Brooklyn to Manhattan that usually averages 30 to 45 minutes currently takes 3 to 4 hours on average as the roads are so limited and trains have so few open trains even if they do attempt to run. My brother-in-law (a trader living in CT and commuting to midtown) took six hours to make a one way trip into the city and then couldn't get home on Thursday...leaving his wife alone with no power or gas to travel herself with their three year old and five month old while he found a friend's couch in the city for the night. These people all feel forced to try to work though they are literally living in a disaster area, have no public transportation and have no way to even put gas in a car or then even drive the car anywhere.
MAJOR COMPANIES and businesses need to hear from some press or government outlet that they cannot attempt to force business as usual in a federal disaster area!!! It just cannot go on and is only further slowing the ultimate clean up and "restoration of vital services" time frame. Additionally they can't force families to be separated in these chaotic times when things are going from bad to worse as communication fails further and looting is beginning to set in!
I write this to you because I know how far reaching your Rolodex is and just pray some people's eyes can be opened. Unlike foreign disasters where huge planes full of American support and supplies arrive (i.e. earthquakes in Japan or any other type scenario that leaves citizens in dire straits) we are yet to see planes full of supplies and volunteer personnel arrive here.
Americans help the world, but who helps us? Not even our own government.
I hope this rant can in some way get the word out with your help.
Anything you can do is huge. Any ideas you might have are appreciated. We are in a state comparable to New Orleans after Katrina and need to mobilize as much help and awareness as possible FAST.
I apologize for my less than perfect writing style and seemingly random list of recipients I have copied. Given the circumstances, it's all I could do to just scratch the surface and start somewhere.
All help and ideas welcome.
Hope to hear back soon.