I think that Katrina got tons and tons of coverage. Movies were made. Celebrities walked around in the flood waters toting firearms. It was handled poorly by then-FEMA, but it was certainly covered, EXTENSIVELY, by the media.
Sandy is being handled much better by now-FEMA, in a region that has more resources going for it generally than the 9th ward did, in which more people were better able to evacuate, and is also being extensively covered by the media.
Also, regarding the pets thing that someone mentioned, this time around people were posting on FB that if you are evacuating with a pet a taxi/carrier can't refuse you in an emergency and that pets accompanied by humans are allowed in shelters. So that is one example where, a couple years ago, that would not have been going around on FB. I too would make very different decisions depending on if I could take care of my animals or not.
And this is part of what I'm trying to say. It's not just mere minutes in the news, it's things like that. It's the type of coverage and the sensationalizing that set it apart from Katrina. If I didn't know better, I would have thought that Sandy was much, much worse.
I honestly came away with just the opposite.
The feeling I get is "Sandy is horrible, but Katrina is still way worse." There are no stories of people being herded into the astrodome. Noone is wading around with shotguns. People aren't being bussed places. All that was covered in Katrina.
Then again, I went to the 9th ward and personally gutted houses in totally deserted neighborhoods in a hazmat suit a YEAR after Katrina, so my personal experiences could be coloring my perception. I am not sure volunteers are going to be travelling to Atlantic City to gut houses with their own two hands next year. Somehow I think NJ will rebound quicker than that.
Posting from NJ. Still have no power. New gas rationing plan, but it still takes hours to get it. Temps sinking into the 20s.
Did people forget that just last year NJ got slapped by Irene, then the remnants of a gulf storm, then a freak October snow storm? All those things certainly put a strain on infrastructure, and we spent a lot of time in the dark. As a result, generally speaking, the power companies have been restoring power at a much faster rate this time around.
I wouldn't say that the humanitarian losses are the same as Katrina, but to say that this was not devastating to far more people is silly.
I was in Gulfport/Biloxi, MS 6 months to the day after Katrina. I will never forget what I saw there, and if anything would say that the news was more focused on NO despite the insane damage on the rest of the Gulf Coast.
I also worked on Katrina recovery and have conducted interviews with community leaders on the Mississippi Gulf Coast since then. Just speaking as someone that works in this field, I know that the losses from Sandy are just as debilitating, disorienting, and life-altering there as they were after Katrina.
What you did see in the media after Katrina was mainly the epic problems in evacuation, rescue, and cleaning up New Orleans. That was frustrating to some people in Mississippi, who bore the most wind and storm surge damage. It was remarkable how people (who are used to normal sized hurricanes) came together and, along with many many volunteers from all over, slowly put their lives back together. That story didn't really "play" on TV.
For what it's worth, media attention is never proportional with loss of lives and/or property from hurricanes. This link is an interesting graphic, but I don't mean to make any judgment about the media or comparisons on losses. I know that it is always horrific and I certainly hope some lessons learned from Katrina will be helpful in cleaning up from Sandy.
Here in NZ the media coverage seems to me to be about the same. However, we are not experiencing the 'wtf? Why aren't they doing anything to help?' that we did with Katrina. At that time it felt to us, halfway around the world, that we were more aware of what was going on than y'all. I'm rapt there seems to be a more cohesive plan of action now! I'm chalking it up to lessons learnt.
In Canada, we saw a lot of coverage on Katrina, also Hugo and are seeing lots of coverage on Sandy.
With Katrina we were all wondering why in the world it was taking so darn long to help people and even a year afterwards, was shocked, dismayed, mortified that houses were still not rebuilt, that people suffered terribly in living conditions that should not ever happen in a modern era, and how many, many people never did ever returned to their homes. It was unbearable to watch. I also remember there were so many offers to help from Canada and at first our offers to help were rebuffed... for months!
I agree, lessons have been learned and help is faster, contingency plans are commencing and the past's mistakes are benefitting today's devastated people. One fellow who was interviewed put it very sagely, "you cannot overpower mother nature." How true - we are purely at the mercy of the forces that govern our planet. Even though Sandy was never a Category 5 like Hugo or Katrina, the fact Sandy merged with several weather systems made her a very dangerous and extremely large Category 1.
Katrina got enormous coverage in the US, but it was delayed because the disaster and the tragedy didn't occur until after the storm, as the flooding began to overwhelm the city. And then it took the media a few days to catch up because a) the area is hurricane-prone so a hurricane there is less surprising and news-worthy than in the Northeast and b) the physical distance made it harder for the media to observe the situation and read it correctly. Once they did, they didn't take their eyes off it for weeks because it was so dramatic and horrible - an entire (if small) city submerged, people trapped, cops fled, chaos, the entire system of local, state and federal government failing in the response.
Sandy got enormous coverage before and during the storm because it was predicted from early on to hit a region which only sees a hurricane once every 30 years or so. The last bad storm to hit the NJ coast was in 1962. Also, the region is heavily populated so a bad storm hit here affects a huge number of people. It was an easy call for an obvious big story, and has remained in the news because it did far more damage than anyone honestly believed would happen in northern NJ and NYC.
Being up here leads to misconceptions, as well. For years I thought that the only people who could afford to live on the shoreline were those who were affluent. I have the relatives who illustrate this point quite effectively. Then the hurricane blew through and I found out that south of MA/RI/CT, things are different. The destruction on Staten Island and Queens absolutely kills me, and likewise for the Jersey shore. Some in Ct will not rebuild on the shore, because although their homes are covered by insurance, those who have been hit twice now will not be able to get insurance coverage for any new home they build on the shore property, which will leave them selling it to someone else.
I agree with Frank, some of the talking heads got hit personally with this one. Many live in the Hamptons or metro NYC- New Jersey, and their property was clobbered. For a few of them, it may be the enlightening moment that brought them back down to earth for a while.
I hear the marathon runners are using their legs today to run backpacks of supplies into Staten Island. I have no comment either way on that, but I think their times are going to suffer when they get there and are overwhelmed by the damage they see in every direction. I think the tipping point for the NYC Marathon decision came when evacuees were being evicted from hotel rooms so runners who had registered for them could have them. They should have cancelled the marathon on Monday.
As for the wedding receptions, there were probably many shoreline receptions scheduled. There are a lot of generators up here now as well, courtesy of last years storms, so I can see a bride looking for a generator to have a wedding. But, I can't help to wonder how many people want to go into hurricane hit areas fresh after the disaster to watch a wedding when there is no gas, no water, no power, trees and lines down, and the other residents don't want them in there to begin with. Why don't these folks postpone their plans for a bit if they still want the big wingding? If they want the smaller wedding, well then the candles and generators do just fine. If you drink enough booze, the whole disaster gets fuzzy around the edges for a little while, as well. But then it comes back.
Looting has begun on the shoreline. It is heartbreaking and sad.
ETA: A Nor'easter with wind, rain, cool temperatures and minor coastal flooding coming in Wednesday to Thursday. More water to deal with. Insert and :thumbs down: here.
Last edited by Chief2; Nov. 4, 2012 at 09:50 AM.
"The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein
Geez, I remember the coverage Katrina got for days, weeks.
Of course, Sandy is going to get a lot of coverage. It just happened...
It s also pretty close to winter in more Northern states and it will be in the news for a long time. Of course, the election date makes the disaster more news worthy.
Yes, I distinctly remember Katrina being on 24/7 constantly for weeks (of course it was a chance for some to go after a federal administration they actively hated, so they milked it, despite most of the fault being city and state level.) If anything, Sandy's tapered off--we're not getting a barrage of footage of victims and tales of violent looting (though it's happening places like Staten Island.)
And the one poster is right, things that happen to New York or California (to a lesser extent) are always "worse." The media is by and large centered in New York, more people who think they're important live in Manhattan, and okay, in fairness, it IS where the NYSE is located, which is actually important, but it's not like that can't be done electronically. (And really, if we're getting into "But New York has more people!", well, yeah, but a lot more people died in Katrina.)
And even with Katrina, everyone fixated on New Orleans, which did actually leave some of the other Gulf states feeling overlooked.
No matter where you live, it sucks to be in the path of a hurricane.