As many of you probably heard, we had some stormy weather here in New York this week.
Our CNEWA offices have just reopened, and we’re finally picking up the pieces and getting back to work. Our corner of the city was relatively unscathed. But not far from here, it’s a different story. Much of lower Manhattan is still without power or subway service. Train stations are flooded. Fuel supplies are running low. Thousands of people in the region are homeless or seeking shelter. The devastation around so much of the greater New York area has been — in the words of one New York priest — “almost overwhelming”:
The damage from the wind, rain and flooding brought by Hurricane Sandy “is almost overwhelming,” said Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. “We’re reaching out to parishes and getting them to directly assist those in critical need — they know their own people and their neighborhoods,” he told Catholic News Service. Several Catholic agencies and religious communities have stepped forward to address the greatest needs of victims of the super storm. “Reaching out to parishes and other communities and neighborhoods is imperative at this point,” Msgr. Sullivan explained. “The response on the parish level has been tremendous. We’re also working very, very closely with several municipal, state and private agencies, including Red Cross, to figure out the best way to respond to this disaster.” When New York state and New York City were preparing for Sandy’s unprecedented onslaught, emergency responders had met with Msgr. Sullivan and Catholic Charities to plan how to best utilize its resources and personnel after the storm. “We’ve been in conversation with dozens of governmental agencies and made sure we put our staff in place. We have a lot of social work case managers who are trained to deal with emergencies like this,” the priest said. “They know how to get greater access to available services to those in need,” he said. “Many people suffering through disasters fall through the gaps. Our staff is in place to make sure that doesn’t happen. We found this is the best way to work with victims in this situation.”
The road back will be a long one. Catholic Charities has set up a special web page (old/broken link: https://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=2692) for those who want to help. Meantime, please keep all those affected by this calamity in your thoughts and prayers.