FOR ONE Dundalk drama teacher, the unfolding events this week as Hurricane Sandy tore through New York and New Jersey were more then just an side reel on the 24 hour news cycle, they were a source of deep anxiety.
Kwazie Boyce, who runs the MAD Youth Theatre Group, hails from New York, a city which his parents still call home.
“My parent’s have lived in New York for 38 years. We are originally from the Carribean, where we get our fair share of hurricanes. But they have seen nothing like this before.”
Kwazie parent’s live in Brooklyn, an area that was relatively hard hit by the hurricane. However, of more pressing importance to Kwazie is his sister who lives in Jersey, which was ravaged by the “Franken Storm”.
“I have been able to contact her since the storm broke, but we hope to speak to her in the next day or two.”
Luckily his parents were able to hold up in their grandparent’s appartment, where they could watch the storm from relative safety.
“It’s pretty scary. A couple in the neighbourhood were killed when out walking their dog. A tree fell on them, though what they were doing walking a dog in a hurricane, I don’t know.
“The biggest problem is getting fresh food and water. The population density and the breakdown in the infrastruture, mean that clean, running water is not working, and this can become a problem very quickly. Combine this with no communication and a power outage and you can imagine what it’s like.
“The subway is flooded and most of the roads are also closed. The area that are closer to sea level or water have been worst hit obviously.
“This is a once in a generation storm,” says Kwazie, who likens it to the aftermath of 9/11. New Yorkers are tough people, and this will bring the city together and they will get over it. The city will recover.”
The family crisis has come at a bad time for the drama teacher, who was to be married on Friday. “We are trying to fly relatives in for the wedding, so this has been a nightmare to deal with.”
Kwazie however praises the reaction of the government to the crisis, saying that it’s clear that Obama wants to cut through the red tape and get the help to the people as quick as possible.
“Obama has said he wants to cut through the bureaucracy. It’s bad timing for Romney, who wanted to get rid of the emergency response funding.”