As New York-based UN diplomats and humanitarians well know, natural disasters wreak havoc every day without regard to national borders or the global clock. In the same way, challenges that confront populations in conflict zones and weak states do not wait, even when UN-based efforts to address them are headquartered in the path of a deadly hurricane.
On October 31, two days after Hurricane Sandy socked the New York metropolitan area with gale-force winds, flooding, and unprecedented damage to the city's power and transportation infrastructure, many in the U.S. Mission family lacked power, heating, and hot water. Some lost property to the storm's surging waters. Yet the U.S. Mission to the United Nations was already back online, UN Security Council diplomats were meeting in a temporary room to renew the African Union mission in Somalia, and the world's diplomats were back at work on some of the world's most pressing challenges.
They would not have been able to do so without the help of U.S. federal, state, and local governments engaged in disaster relief -- particularly the City of New York, whose partnership with the United Nations has served Americans and people around the world for nearly seven decades. Two weeks ago, addressing Mayor Bloomberg, city employees and members of the diplomatic community, Ambassador Rice said that "the United States is incredibly proud to be the host nation to the UN, but we can only do so because New York is the host city to us all."
For more information on how you can help the survivors of Hurricane Sandy, visit the White House Blog and FEMA's guide to volunteering and donating responsibly. For more on U.S. efforts at the United Nations, follow Ambassador Rice (Twitter and Facebook), the U.S. Mission (Twitter and Facebook) and visit our website.