Sunday, November 04, 2012

America's Internally Displaced Refugees

We became familiar with internally displaced populations in the wake of the American conquests of Afghanistan and Iraq and the sectarian violence that ensued.

America suffered a bout of internally displaced people after Hurricane Katrina hammered New Orleans and many thousands were forced to leave the city to take refuge in FEMA trailer camps.

Now the states of New Jersey and New York are faced with internal displacement challenges in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  It's estimated that 30,000 to 40,000 residents of New York City have lost their residences and need to be relocated.   Even as the flood waters recede, a cold snap has set in to torment the homeless and create another nightmare for city and state officials.

"Temperatures throughout the region fell early Sunday into the 30s, and the National Weather Service issued a freeze watch on Sunday for parts of New Jersey, including the coast, where many residents remained without heat. Officials have urged them to head to shelters.

"Mr. Bloomberg called the cold the “most pressing” challenge in the recovery. The city has opened heating shelters and is passing out blankets to New Yorkers without electricity.

“'You can die from being cold,” Mr. Bloomberg said Sunday. “You can die from fires started from candles or stoves. Please go to the local disaster site. If you don’t know where to go, stop a cop on the side of the road and ask.”

"Adding to the concerns, forecasters now say that a northeaster could move in by midweek, hitting the already battered coastal areas with heavy winds and strong waves. Freezing temperatures are also expected.

"As of Sunday, more than 700,000 remained without power in New York State, including 404,000 on Long Island and 154,000 in New York City."

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