What happens when 65 million people are all bracing for the arrival of a potential disaster? All we have to do is look at the East Coast right now, because the report is that 65,000,000 residents along that coast are trying to prepare for Hurricane Irene to hit.
One report is that the stores are empty. If you don't already have it, you can't go out and buy it. Oh, you might be able to find a fancy pair of high heels, but those are useless. In fact, that's exactly the reason you can find them — 'because nobody really needs them right now.
But if you want to buy something useful like bottled water, food or a power generator, you're a day late and a dollar short. When the crisis is looming, there might be folks willing to part with the extra generators they went out and bought in anticipation of a rush on the market. The price will double or triple, or more. Some people call that price gouging, but you would be happy to pay the price when you really need those items.
New York Mayor Bloomberg ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city, ordering residents to get out of town by 5:00 p.m. tomorrow.
A FEMA spokesman told the Associated Press, "We're going to have damages, we just don't know how bad. this is one of the largest populations that will be impacted by one storm at one time."
Bigger than Katrina? Yup, in terms of population being affected. And if it weren't for the population, the storm would come and go and be of very little importance. It's the populace that turns a storm (or an earthquake, etc.) into a disaster. It's the fact that the people are unprepared to take care of handling their own needs. That's what creates a disaster.
The more prepared you are, the less you have to depend on outside agencies to take care of you. To the degree that you fail to prepare, you become part of the problem.
The East Coast, right now, is learning that the time for preparation is not when you're staring down the barrel.