Oct 31, 2012

Rats Invade Streets of New York After Sandy Storm Damage

COMMENTARY | As if New York residents weren't facing enough trouble with the massive storm damage from Hurricane Sandy. According to National Geographic Daily News, the city is now besieged by droves of rats looking for food and possibly hoping to re-establish themselves on drier ground. The news is enough to make most of the rest of us cringe but it should come as no surprise. Rats have adapted to live around humans over thousands of years. They do well by how we live and conditions created by the storm have emboldened these amazingly survivable creatures. 

It appears the rats were flooded out by the torrential rain from the super-storm which hit the East Coast over the last few days. Under normal conditions, rats can actually burrow deeper in the soil than water can seep. But, in addition to the flooding of their usual habitat, the tempting lure of trash strewn all about the city, which the rats consider a food source, has lured the hungry creatures out into broad daylight. New Yorkers can expect to see rats by the thousands until they're able to return to their usual habitat. City workers and residents certainly have their hands full in re-building their lives. 

During the rainfall, rats reportedly escaped the subways in the same manner as humans would exit - the stairs. Many sought shelter behind garbage bins and under parked cars until the storm let up. Now, a veritable smorgasbord has come to their feet. A major concern for New Yorkers now is the obvious risk of disease with thousands of rats roaming the streets. 

While the residents of the East Coast - especially New York City and New Jersey - those of us in the rest of the US need not sit by idly, feeling helpless. The Lookout offers a list of charities through which donors can help with donations towards hurricane relief. 

We can give more than just money too. Churches, groups and clubs can also contribute donations of food, clothing, blankets and other basic necessities. Additional items readers might consider donating are batteries, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, diapers, baby wipes, hand sanitizer and even toys. Pretty much anything which those of us fortunate enough to not live in the Northeast take for granted every day could help the people of the New York City and New Jersey.

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