A profound difference between what I saw today in southern New Jersey and New Orleans is that the water just did not go away in New Orleans. The areas I saw in New Jersey have been destroyed — but the water has receded. For days after Katrina struck, we were traveling in boats (not cars) in certain parts of the city.
That is not to say that the people in southern New Jersey are not suffering — they are just suffering in different conditions. I met families who have no power and their homes are drenched inside. It was cold during the daytime today (40’s) so I can only imagine what it is tonight without power and thus heat. They have, of course, lost many of their possessions (some irreplaceable) to water damage. Even beyond the property damage is the loss of life. The numbers keep growing.
These storms are very painful for people — hence my great appreciation for organizations like Samaritans Purse who rush out to help.
If you watched ON THE RECORD at 10pm on Monday when the Hurricane first hit land, some of our guests said it did not seem to be as bad as we had feared. Having reported on Hurricane Katrina, and remembering that the first night reports about Katrina were not bad, I warned that when the sun came up Tuesday morning, we might see horrible things. Regrettably I was right. With Hurricanes that strike after dark, after the wind has struck, it is the storm surge that is twice as cruel and we don’t see that until the sun rises the next day.
Incidentally, while I was at one home, a representative of FEMA was there — working hard and working efficiently to help.