Hurricane Sandy Attracts Global Attention

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Audio Transcript:

Lisa Mullins: Earlier this week my partner Marco Werman flew to London. He's there to find out how people in Britain and around the globe feel about the US presidential election. But Marco says he's finding that what people there are talking about is Sandy.

Marco Werman: It's still big news here the day after, I mean very, very big…big enough to momentarily knock the story down of the late and disgraced BBC presenter, Jimmy Savile and the charges against him of sex abuse that just keep piling up. Let me give you a taste of Sky News coverage, one of the broadcasters here in the UK the day after the storm.

Sky News: At least 16 people are killed as super storm Sandy leaves a trail of devastation across the eastern coast of the US. President Obama declares a major…

Werman: I mean as you can hear there, Lisa, the sense you get from this dramatic and justifiably dramatic coverage that is wall to wall here today is that this is a classic American storm as in when the states do storms, they do them big. I mean that's not to say that people are watching this like entertainment, but they're looking at the front pages, and the various pictures on TV and sent in from people in the states on social media of explosions in Queens, of the Manhattan subways getting flooded…you know that dramatic and extraordinary picture of water barreling down elevator shafts. And they can't believe it. It's like what a lot of people said right after 9/11, it looked like a blockbuster movie and it is really frightening.

Mullins: Now when people approach you, Marco, you being an American, I wonder what they have to say to you?

Werman: Well, the first thing they want to know is how did I get out of the country and I point out that I was probably on one of the last flights out of Boston and got into London on Sunday morning. A lot of people have asked me how my family is? And I just spoke with my dad on the 23rd floor of his building in Manhattan. His big concern was that he didn't get his paper this morning. The other question I've been asked four times today is will Sandy postpone the election? And to that I've answered that so far, no general election in the US has ever been postponed and that it's hard to see how this storm would change that, but who knows. I mean it could make voting really difficult next Tuesday for some people.

Mullins: Interesting though that that would be one of the things on people's minds there. We know that along with Sandy folks in the UK have been following the US elections very closely as well.

Werman: Right, well that's why I've come to London, to talk to people here about how they see the US election outside the bubble, and indeed this morning I was meeting with six kids from the Northumberland Park Community School here in London, but for the first 10 minutes we were talking about Sandy. They wanted to know, they've been watching the news. And we started talking about storms in the United States.

Student: It's like a really weird hurricane because it's like a tropical hurricane mixed in with like Arctic air. And some places in New York there's like it's completing fine and some places are just like, it's like water up to thigh level.

Werman: Yeah, so we spent about 10 minutes talking about Sandy before we got to the presidential elections. I mean we will get to that later this week on the program with those kids, but boy, they were really, really interested and frightened about Sandy. I mean some of them said I'd love to live in the United States, I wanna go to Disneyland, but I don't wanna go to Florida, that's where all the hurricanes come.

Mullins: Alright, thanks for the view from that side, The World's Marco Werman in London, looking forward to your stories later in the week.

Werman: Good to speak, Lisa.

Mullins: While Marco's in London reporting on global views of the US election, he's also armed with a smartphone. Follow PRI The World on Instagram and you can get an inside peek of what Marco is seeing through the photos that he's posting to our stream. And join the conversation too, remember to include the #theworldvotes with your questions and your thoughts.