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Storm victims need assistance

This disaster is a test for all Americans

By The Mercury

It doesn’t seem fair that we have sunshine and afternoon temperatures in the 60s while much of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions are still trying to cope with what started last week as Hurricane Sandy and evolved into what’s variously being called a monster storm, the perfect storm and, given the season, “Frankenstorm.”

Those are all apt descriptions of the storm that has affected tens of millions of our fellow citizens in a dozen states. It’s washed away homes, wrecked businesses, inundated entire communities – and metropolitan subways – felled mature trees, dumped multiple feet of snow in parts of the Appalachians and, of course, knocked out power to large segments of the population.

We can help, and we should. Doubtless, local churches and some schools will take the initiative, perhaps by collecting coats, food and money to be sent to disaster victims. That’s wonderful.

The Red Cross, which is synonymous with disaster aid, also is welcoming donations, particularly blood and financial donations. The needs are monumental but can be summed up with the basics: food, clothing and shelter — all of which cost money.

Residents here have felt nature’s wrath, including the flood of 1993 and more recently the ice storm of 2007 and the tornado in 2008. In each instance we benefited from the generosity of people in distant communities. Those kindnesses helped us cope with practical problems and reminded us that others — strangers — were there when needed.

Given the scope of the present disaster, which runs from the Carolinas up the East Coast to Maine and inland to the Appalachians and beyond, the needs will be as acute as they are vast. Donations, which are tax-deducible, can be made by phone at 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or online at

To their credit, key figures in both the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns have urged supporters at political rallies to contribute to disaster relief. It would be helpful if deep-pocketed super PACs supporting both campaigns would set an example by remembering that these are Americans who are suffering, not just Republicans and Democrats or liberals and conservatives.

If Sandy is the quintessential October surprise so be it. We don’t know who it will favor next Tuesday, but it is putting all Americans, not just those in the path of this huge storm, to the test.

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