Over the years, I have written about many natural disasters and the human toll they’ve taken. I believe social media, writ large, make such events more personal to us all — a shared phenomena, even for those of us not on the scene.
When we start to see the images of these disasters, our first impulse is “go help.”
However, I’ve also learned from writing about these disasters (and having one occur in my hometown) that it’s always better to give the local citizens and experienced officials and non-government agencies a few days to address the immediate needs and to assess what the longer-term needs will be.
As I’ve written before, in the first days of any disaster, for those of us not on the scene, the best way we can help is always: first, send money.
This is especially true when a disaster is so widespread as Hurricane Sandy appears to be.
Personally, and because of advice I’ve been given by individuals who have been on the front lines of such disasters, I contribute, in a designated way, to the Salvation Army as it is supposed to be one of the most efficient ways to support first-responder, essential needs efforts.
Of course, there are many groups through which you can make such contributions.
Sidenote: I have a daughter who lives and works in “Zone A” in New York. Thank you to those who have asked about her. She’s with friends on higher ground (despite being just a few blocks away).