New York City relief: Day 10

Have you ever tried to untangle a ball of string?  You pull on one free end, but that just tightens the knots within the big mass. After a while of pulling, tugging and trying to figure out the best way to go, you pretty much want to chuck the whole mess.

That’s what trying to pull equipment and supplies out of the city is starting to look like. This entire logistics operation is the most intricate dance you have ever seen, and when one item moves, it affects everything in the process.

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For example - today, I have been crowned Captain Port-A-Potty for the logistics team. It’s part of the overall tracking operation. With plumbing facilities out in so many homes, these portable convenience locations have become a critical part of operations in the field, and they be found just about everywhere there was storm damage.

After Sandy blew through and did its damage, the city put out a call to four vendors to deliver these facilities as quickly as possible to the affected areas. And, if it was left at that, finding those locations would be relatively easy.

Supplies being given to survivors

But that’s only part of the picture. After all, many of these locations are also relief centers where people can pick up food, water and other supplies - or at recovery centers - where survivors can speak one on one with insurance adjusters, FEMA assistance personnel, representatives with the local utilities, etc. So, many of these places also need portable light towers, fuel, generators, tents, work trailers, police presence - the works. Each of these units also has to be serviced on a regular basis - as you might imagine.

People donating clothing in the storm's aftermath

Add in the fact that many people in an effort to be helpful have moved some of  the deployed units from the areas they were sited to other more heavily impacted areas. While well-intended, this does add to the degree of difficulty in tracking, servicing and eventually retrieving these units.

But, hey, that’s life - and making life easier for storm survivors is what we are all about.

Or, as they say around the warehouse here in Brooklyn - faggetaboutit.