How well do you know your neighbors?
A recent poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, residents in New York and New Jersey believed that their neighbors were more helpful in providing assistance and support than the state and national government.
While sixty-three percent of the 2,025 individuals polled in this survey suggested that they turned to friends, families, or neighbors close to their homes, only seven percent said that they contacted their state government during the storm. Additionally, only nineteen percent of those surveyed sought help from the federal government.
Commonly, in disaster situations, the perceived notion is that a “fend for yourself” attitude comes out in the community. However, this survey found that seventy-seven percent of people reported that the Hurricane brought out the best among their neighbors.
Neighbors helped each other by sharing food, water, shelter, generators, or access to power. In neighborhoods hardest hit by the storm, sharing was even more common. Many people stated that they really got to know their neighbors as they bonded to help each other through this crisis.
The most important point that we can take away from this survey is that according to the Associated Press, “data showed that neighborhoods lacking in social cohesion and trust generally had a more difficult time recovering. People in slowly recovering neighborhoods reported greater levels of hoarding of food and water, looting, stealing, and vandalism, compared with neighborhoods that recovered more quickly.”
Hurricane Sandy teaches us that now is the time to start getting to know your neighbors. Learn about what resources and skills that you can pool in order to help your community survive in case a disaster hits. To learn how to create a community preparedness plan or join our group program to prepare with your neighbors, check out these resources: