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Decisions During a Disaster: Sandy and Atlantic City

By Turiya S. A. Raheem
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 3 | Posted Nov. 5, 2012

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ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY — I’d hate to be one of the people making major decisions during a disaster such as Hurricane Sandy.  

The public can be so impatient, finicky and overwhelmed at these times so you’re in a damned if you do — damned if you don’t situation on almost everything. My heart went out to all of the mayors and county executives in our area last week as I listened to callers on several radio stations.

You would think, first of all, that people had forgotten there were thousands of others in the same boat, pardon the pun. Residents called into radio stations wanting immediate attention for their circumstances, immediate electricity, immediate clean drinking water, immediate heat, immediate rescue and on and on the lists went. I truly wondered if the storm had caused some of these people to lose their mental faculties.

Then, there were the Atlantic City naysayers who called in to say that they wished they were residents of anywhere else other than Atlantic City. 

These people felt the mayors of every other municipality were doing a tremendous job, but Mayor Langford was falling short on everything. 

I wondered if they had listened to County Executive Dennis Levinson time and time again saying that many decisions had to come from the state level and were not within the authority of local officials. I kept waiting for these same people to call back and commend Mayor Langford when he did help local residents find shelter despite the limitations of the state’s authority.

When people insisted on complaining to Pinky Kravitz and Barbara Altman on their WOND radio shows — as if they could make any decisions — I could almost guarantee that the ones who wanted the mayors to let them return home would also be the ones to protest if they had been put in danger by returning too soon. 

I understood people wanting to get back to their homes as soon as possible to assess the damage and begin the clean up, but I also figured that officials had more information than we did and were making decisions accordingly.  

As for us, my husband and I, we only lost our cars while so many others lost much more, even their lives or the lives of loved ones. We realized through the whole Sandy ordeal that patience, prayer and perseverance go a very long way. 

Patience keeps you grounded while enduring calamities.  Prayer works, especially when natural disasters appear that are totally out of the control of anything human. It reminds us that there is a higher power we can turn to if we don’t do so on a regular basis. Perseverance is what it takes to keep pushing forward when the situation seems dire and insurmountable.   

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1. Hassan #2 said... on Nov 6, 2012 at 11:45AM

“The author wrote “Imagine how much of all three decision-making officials must need in order to deal with their constituents in times of trouble.” That’s right, they have to look out for the general public immediately!!! Meanwhile, they have a life just like the rest of us. I don’t know about County Executive Dennis Levinson or Governor Chris Christy, but Mayor Lorenzo Langford lives right here in Atlantic City about five blocks from our home. The water surrounding our house rose to about four feet so I would imagine that it was about the same at his house. The day after (Tuesday) most people on my block who either stayed or got back into town were doing their post-storm assessments and/or cleanup. Due to his RESPONSIBILITIES AS MAYOR, I don’t think that he was able to put much, if any, attention to his own family and property. Most of us treasure nothing more than our family and our home, yet he had to make his secondary to the needs of the citizens of Atlantic City. [to be continued]”

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2. Hassan #2 said... on Nov 6, 2012 at 11:46AM

“As for the Cnty. Exec. and the Governor, even if their homes or property were not damaged they still had a tremendous burden to bear. I was heartbroken just to see images of total destruction in some areas and would like to think that they were too, BUT they had to remain focused to carry out their RESPONSIBILITIES to the citizens. Consider that they did not have all pertinent information immediately, but that they had to make and change decisions as information became available. If none of this was a part of your day after the storm, then you should have kept your opinions to yourself. At least until you had all of the facts. When considering all of the destruction, damage, displacement of families, etc., I feel extremely fortunate to only have our two cars to worry about. I only had liability coverage so it is a concern, but it pales by comparison to others.”

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3. Hassan #2 said... on Nov 6, 2012 at 11:47AM

“The only thing that I think was worse than the local bellyachers was the fact that members of the Republican party got upset with Gov. Christy for working WITH Democratic officials to deal with the crisis. I doubt that anyone who had suffered, if only the mental trauma that the storm brought, cared about party affiliation.”

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