News reports have captured the magnitude of the devastation left by "superstorm" Sandy. The impact continues to increase as word begins to spread of personal loss and tragedy. A dire tale that I fear will grow worse in the coming days and weeks:
- 109 fatalities
- Public transportation systems severely damaged
- A lack of power has prevented those impacted from being able to access gasoline, food and other necessities
- Much is needed and less is available
What inspires me are the stories of human courage, support and kindness when it was needed most:
- A surfer kayaker in Belmar has 6 feet of water in his house, but still takes the time to transport older neighbors to and from their houses - in his personal kayak. "... people had to get out...," he said.
- Coast Guard heroes save 14 survivors of the sinking HMS Bounty (they surely would have perished).
- Arizona Red Cross volunteer hops a plane to the region to help provide mental health services to victims.
- Over 1,000 NYC marathon runners help support the relief effort.
- Marines lend a helping hand in hard-hit Staten Island.
And many more to come, no doubt.
We all have the wherewithal to make a difference.
I may not need to remind you that older residents are more vulnerable in disaster situations. It is imperative that we check on neighbors, make sure relief supplies are brought to those who can't get to them and support the effort with your dollars.
On this last point, it's important to keep a mind's eye to scams. Many will try to prey on generous-natured individuals who really want to help. So, give to a trusted organization that you know.
To help, AARP and AARP Foundation have established a relief fund to support victims in the U.S. devastated by Hurricane Sandy. To help bolster the relief effort, AARP and its affiliates will match contributions dollar-for-dollar up to $750,000, assuring up to $1.5 million in aid. An immediate response to this urgent appeal will allow AARP to expedite support to those who need it now. To donate to the relief fund, please go to: www.aarp.org/disasterrelief.