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UB Disaster Expert Says Anti-Social Behavior Not Uncommon

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – A UB expert in natural disasters says the behavior some are exhibiting in hurricane ravaged New Orleans is not uncommon.

Dr. Charles Ebert says the initial response of victims when disaster strikes is one of shock. But he says that often changes to anger they're forced to wait for help. Ebert says in some cases, people are stealing just to survive.

"We you have an immediate need to survive, and everything is chaotic, you smash that plate glass window and take what you need for your children," Ebert said. "This is a totally abnormal situation. You cannot apply normal standards."

Ebert says he doesn't fault the government in the delay in getting help to those in need. He says with roads closed and bridges destroyed, the logistics are proving to be difficult.

"The dimensions of this disaster are so enormous that, even with all the good will, it will take time," Ebert said. "People are exposed to tremendous pressure because of this time lag."

Ebert says he has never seen a disaster of this magnitude in the US.

The University at Buffalo is responding. It has accepted last four four undergraduates evacuated from Tulane University as visiting students. And earthquake engineers from UB will be heading to New Orleans to assess the structural damage caused by the hurricane.