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I thought the biggest lesson learned from 9/11 was that low-tech comes through in a disaster (as when TRANSCOM sent out faxes). How could these administrations repeatedly and incessantly tell the media and the public to go to their websites when millions of people didn't have power and therefore didn't have internet access? Why didn't public officials encourage those with power and internet access to use the internet, to reduce call volume for those without power and internet access? I worked in emergency management, I knew to keep a landline, but all those people who "cut the cord" and only had cellphones 1) couldn't charge their cellphones, and 2) certainly couldn't waste their cellphone power waiting on hold forever.
Al Leidner, they didn't learn.
You all can read how misinformation was spread to those who needed fact-checked information from reliable sources here:
See particularly, Wednesday, October 31, 2012: Quest for Internet
"B&H store has Internet but restricts all external access. They suggest Starbucks or Library. Also, they're sold out of battery-operated radios. No mail delivery, downtown stores not getting delivery of The New York Times, midtown stores are all sold out. Downtown ATMs have no power, I go to Citibank near Macy's for cash. Walk to Mid-Manhattan Library on 5th Avenue and 40th Street, they are closed!"Barry Drogin
This is parallel to the transportation predicament in the USA which allowed a good public transportation (particularly rail) system to die after WW2 in favor of an automobile based sprawled system that is now subject to fuel shortages and congestion.
Suburbanites in our region are forced to limit gasoline use as well as cell phone use
Jack E. (permission to cite pending)
The magnitude of the devastation is beyond comprehension if you haven't been to Coney Island aside from the amusement park or Nathan's. There is/was an entire resedential, commercial, mixed community that experienced extensive flooding inside and outside the structures. I personally live and am a homeowner in Coney Island and living the devastation, disaster and recovery efforts. The community central hub office Astella also went under in the water and all the documents went under the water and they no longer have access to their files, computers, and did not even have a GIS database to begin with. Working with local leaders of the community is critical in the process of distribution of services and resources and deployment. All those lessons we learned from 9/11 we will learn them all again here and then some. I am experiencing life as it is firsthand and wish I had an extra hand to also coordinate and help the coordination efforts of recovering for not only myself, but my friends and neighbors of the community.
The cell reception is choppy and cuts off constantly. There are no phone banks available to make calls to various city agencies or 311 for reporting. Yes, internet is available on cell phones, there is only so much you can do with a cell phone to access, download, and print pertinent information for records to show proof. Aside from that, not everyone purchased a data plan for internet services. The reliance and dependence on internet as the information portal is too much as we are looking at a neighborhood with challenges when it comes to power and service providers not being restored to individual homes even though Con Ed has restored as much as possible from their end. There's the infrastructure that was damaged. What's needed in times like these is hardcopy paper to distribute critical information and people in the field to directly answer questions and to educate the public.
Amy J (permission to cite pending)
The subject is normalcy in the face of change. This is going to sound insensitive, though, as one formerly owning waterfront property (and experienced flooding) on the Chesapeake Bay, I really do ache for those in shore areas pounded by the hurricane and recent storms. As preservationists we face a dilemma (and perhaps a few solutions) accustomed as we are to preserving property in situ, and less often preserving the state of change itself (notable exceptions such as farms and canals). For example, history shows where the higher banks along the insides of meandering rivers were preferred building sites rather than the periodically flooded low outside banks. Normalcy in the face of change of river flow.
Shunning exposure and risk, we would never condone locating children’s playgrounds between airport runways, parking lines of cars along the shoulders of modern highways, or planting tall trees on rooftops (well…not very often). But in the face of population growth and changing climate we occupy barrier islands and flood zones where we didn’t historically. We plant trees in old world ways--or at least let them spring up and grow—right up to the edges of major roadways, stringing power lines in close proximity.
And we cling to hope of keeping vulnerable towns, houses, and infrastructure as in older days. We even pay a premium—purchase price and insurance—for the privilege.
One newspaper article recently noted that the inland reach of Sandy was closely parallel to the historic shoreline of Manhattan island—the landfill areas overwhelmed. Not so surprising.
Perhaps it’s time we step back, literally, and avoid the untenable margins. Depopulate and treat the barriers as barriers, designing very differently and respectfully of changes that storms inflict. Give many shorelines back to nature. Build boundaries resilient for the assault and only where necessary, reinforced for the surge. Roadways with broader shoulders and protected utilities and powerlines. In other words seek normalcy by planning for change--preserving the state of change itself--in a way that’s affordable and maintainable. It may take generations, while storms grow more frequent and severe, even learning from history itself, and what stands the test of time.
James R. (permission to cite pending)