Catastrophes are complex events. It's not the initial event that hurts the people and infrastructure, it's a combination of lack of preparation plus the effect on utilities, fuel for vehicles and generators, potable water, food, and other supplies plus the response (or lack of one) plus the weather plus crumbling infrastructure post-event plus disease plus the random unknown. The economic effects are long lasting.
Right now, we should be mobilizing supplies to the affected regions with a massive outpouring of materials and trained personnel. It's been too many days with too little results, and now it's biting us in the behind. As bad as Hurricane Katrina was handled, this current farce makes that one look like brilliant strategic and tactical response. We have far less people on the ground and doing the things that must be done to prevent illness and death. It would be far better to overreact with a huge response that this current feeble debacle.
Worse things will happen, and what scant amount of response is forthcoming will be met with Mother Nature's fury if the Nor'easter comes. Exposure is a primary issue. Many people are hunkering down in cold buildings, some of which probably should be evacuated, but they haven't been evaluated as condemned yet.
People can make it for quite awhile without adequate food if reasonably healthy. Many screwed up and didn't prepare and expected the government and private relief to help them. Now that's besides the point.
Water is an entirely different issue. Three days is the max, and many people may be drinking impure water. This is particularly an issue since hurricanes most often end up polluting local water sources with raw sewage.
It should concern all levels of government that many medically fragile folks may have no one checking on them. Think of the elderly, chronically ill, handicapped, mentally ill, homeless population, etc. Of utmost concern is that no one seems to be organizing volunteer squads to check on people. There's a lot of people who might volunteer if the right leader will motivate them to do so.
There was food and medicines that could have been purchased from stores that either had to throw out the food or were looted from. More supplies are sitting there, but have no means of being transported and doled out to the shelters who need them. This is a huge mistake. Again volunteers could be used to transport these goods to the people.
If the Nor'easter comes in, it will dramatically setback efforts based upon weather and the effect on the fragile supply chain coming in. Imagine the effect of snow, wind, and rain? Try organizing under those circumstances.
It's been several days since landfall, and rescue workers are getting tired and some may be getting very little sleep and may fall ill. In addition a very tiny National Guard force is in place versus the amount of soldiers used in Katrina.
A much higher death toll may be hidden for the time being, and a much higher death toll may occur because of concern about marathons, politics and other nonsense has been a priority.
NYC is not the only place where the Hurricane hit. Things could be particularly nightmarish in any metro area given the higher levels of poverty and higher concentration of people coupled with gang activity.
Watch as it all unfolds. The catastrophe you are watching now will be a clear sign of what you could expect in an economic collapse.
While the people in the affected zones are waiting for help, it would behoove them to band together and attempt to take care of themselves as communities and creatively problem solve and cut through red tape. Throwing eggs at utility workers, defecating in hallways, complaining in gas lines, this is lunacy. Open anarchy could easily happen. Look for it.