How to Survive & Thrive After Sandy

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Isaac, we had the great fortune of being introduced to and spending time with Kindra Arensen, a mother, wife to a commercial fisherman, and the so-called Erin Brockovick of Southern Louisiana. 

Thomas Jefferson Community Leadership Award winner for her work advocating on behalf of thousands of commercial fishermen who lost their livelihoods, as well as their health in the aftermath of the BP Oil Spill, Kindra is a straight up rock star, with universally recognized YouTube videos capturing her frank, angry and emotional accounts of her husband and other fishermen getting sick during cleanup.

In 2010, Australian 60 Minutes featured her in a piece on the after effects of the oil spill, suggesting, “This is going to affect the entire world.”  With more  than 300 interviews behind her, she’s still fighting both public and media perception of the disaster.  With a strong eye focused two the media.  “It’s a huge picture, and a picture’s worth 1,000 words.  If it’s not painted correctly, that’s one of the problems I have with the media,” she said.

In addition to the technological disaster caused by BP, Kindra has experienced her fair share of natural disasters, namely Hurricanes Dennis, Gustav, Isaac, Ivan, Katrina, Lili, Rita, and Tropical Storm Lee.  She recently shared some insights on how best to cope in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  

In her own words:

WOW Sandy slammed the east coast, the photos look like what we walked upon 7 years ago after Katrina. Most of the folks that have been hit by this storm may have never dealt with something of this magnitude.

So I will offer the following.

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Call or go online & register with FEMA.
  3. Hold on to as much cash as possible.
  4. You may be thinking omg how will I pay my bills, when you have some time call all of the companies that you have loans with and ask that they differ your payments, the last thing you need is collection calls.
  5. Remove all auto pays from your accounts.
  6. Within the first week officials will approve food stamps, registering online makes the process a little faster. I know some will not want to access fs, but right now everything will help.
  7. File claims with your home owners, flood insurance, and car insurance & on anything that has been hit.
  8. Register for email updates with your local government.
  9. Some churches will help with many things. After Katrina a church in Fla provided a home for our family for 6 months, I don’t know what we would have done without the assistance of the churches.
  10. Remember everyone will be under a tremendous amount of stress.
  11. So loved ones may be snappy. This will put a strain on many relationships. Love each other trough the madness, you will be stronger for it.
  12. If you have children, try not to watch storm coverage while they are present.

I wish someone would have told me the above when we were hit by Katrina. This situation will stay with those hit for the rest of their life, but life does go on. I hope this helps some.

Our thoughts & prayers are with you…

Kendra Arnesen

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