The dramatic pictures we have seen of the devastation wrought in New York by Superstorm Sandy can only give us a general impression of the disruption caused to lives and livelihoods. Sandy was followed soon afterwards by a second powerful storm that compounded the damage and, days later, 70,000 people in the state remain without power, 10,000 as a result of the second storm.
In the days before Sandy hit the Eastern Seaboard, state and federal governments issued a huge amount of invaluable information about how to take precautions, prepare for the worst and deal with the aftermath. Without it, the death toll is likely to have been much higher.
But as the second storm hit, getting information out to the people who needed it most – those in its path – proved difficult, as normal channels of communication, such as TV and internet, depended on an electricity supply that had been ‘switched off’ by Superstorm Sandy.
How such disruption to communications infrastructure can be avoided in the future is now the discussion of much debate and the importance of radio in getting vital information to those affected is being emphasised. And Freeplay Energy stands ready to support the development of any emergency preparedness measures that might benefit from human-powered radio, lights and energy generation.
The occurrence of disruptive, damaging and dangerous weather events seems set to increase, not just on America’s Eastern Seaboard, but around the world. The sooner we recognise this, take appropriate measures and safeguard lives, the better.