Occupy Wall Street and 350.org have teamed up with Recovers.org, a disaster relief platform, to help coordinate response to Hurricane Sandy. OWS states on its website that they are launching support pages at Recovers.org for individuals to give help or post a need. At the interoccupy.net hub, users can make financial donations to victims, volunteer their efforts or locate an emergency shelter.
OWS has called on anyone with “experience in or tools for medical and psychological services, electrician work, plumbing, construction, financial or legal services, debris and tree removal, childcare, transportation, senior services or language skills” to sign up at one of three current sites in the Lower East Side in Manhattan, Red Hook in Brooklyn and Astoria in Queens—all of which are along the waterfront and experienced flooding.
Drop-off points have been established throughout Brooklyn where people can drop off candles, flashlights, batteries, water, food, or other amenities, RT.com reports.
In New York City, 750,000 people remain without power, large areas are still submerged under water and at least eighteen people have been killed, including the daughter of New York Communities for Change’s Executive Director Jon Kest. Jessie Streich-Kest and Jacob Vogelman were killed when they went outside to walk their dog during the storm.
Occupy volunteers started their effort in the Lower East side and have been moving through New York’s five boroughs, along with members of 350.org and Recovers.org.
Individuals who want to get involved in the effort are encouraged to use the hashtah #SandyVolunteer, or if they are in search of assistance, #SandyAid. Interested parties can also use the Occupy Sandy Relief NYC Facebook page. To receive text alerts for volunteer opportunities, text @OccupySandy to 23559. (Image from Facebook/OccupySandyReliefNyc)
OWS is also acting as a facilitator between victims and local communities, putting in-need persons in touch with resources and safe spaces.
“#OccupySandy has located 2 fully operational kitchens in Red Hook which have agreed to donate their facilities! check @occupysandy for deets,” @OccupyWallStNYC tweeted. (Image from Facebook/OccupySandyReliefNyc)
The American Red Cross is also collecting donations, coordinating blood donations, and looking for volunteers to staff its shelters. The mayor’s office has suggested the NYC Service be employed, a government initiative which coordinates volunteer efforts on a year-round basis. They have promised to notify volunteers once volunteering opportunities become available.
Parts of New York City have been utterly demolished by Sandy, especially the small community of Breezy Point, Queens, where more than 100 homes were levelled by a fire that broke out during the storm.
Despite the fact that New York City officials and weather experts keep repeating they have never seen a storm like Sandy, many leaders have shied away from addressing the issue of climate change, with Governor Cuomo serving as the rare exception to the rule.
The New York governor told ABC News that he agreed with former Vice President Al Gore, who said in a blog post earlier today that Hurricane Sandy was a symptom of a larger climate crisis.
“I believe he’s right,” Cuomo said. “I said kiddingly the other day, ‘We have a 100-year flood every two years now.’ These situations never happened or if they happened, they were never going to happen again.… I think at this point it’s undeniable that we have a higher frequency of these extreme weather situations, and we’re going to have to deal with it.”