OpEd: Where is FEMA when you need it?

The Beacon

In an effort to help those people in the surrounding areas that were devastated by the recent flooding, Andrew Miller has been taking groups of students to help with the cleanup and rebuilding effort.  Many people have lost everything they own, and some have even lost friends and family members.

According to ABC News, President Obama declared a state of emergency in both New York and Pennsylvania.  This means that the government should be stepping into help with the rebuilding and recovery of the flooded area.  The Beacon wants to know why, despite this mandate and the clear damage, government involvement appears to be almost entirely absent.

The vast majority of support for the victims of the flood has been coming from the citizens and students around the area.  Miller stated, “I have seen only one government official in the three weeks that I have been there, and it was an official from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.  What I have seen a lot of is churches, students, and people who just call up asking what they can do to help.”

This is both appalling and heartening news.  The Beacon is surprised at the lack of government involvement. The complete absence of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the devastated areas is a symptom of the ineffective oversight of the current administration.  Important crises and institutions are allowed to slip through the cracks while our leaders are being distracted by the upcoming election and other comparatively less trivial issues.

However, to ignore the involvement of the local students and citizens would be another gross oversight. The people who are taking time out of their busy lives to help those in need are demonstrating true American spirit.  We, as a nation, are a brotherhood of individuals committed to making our country a better place to live through the tradition of individual achievement, and there are few achievements that fill you with the same sense of pride and good fortune as helping a fellow American who has come upon difficult times.

The American government is supposedly “of the people, by the people, for the people.”  The Beacon wants to know where are the people?  Are they in sitting in plush offices in Washington, D.C., drinking coffee and chatting about the next election? No.  They are in NEPA and they are quite literally shoveling piles of garbage out of their houses.

Students who wish to get involved and help out the community should email Dr. Miller at [email protected]