I'm in South Louisiana and after Katrina I lost my eBay account for too many nonpayments--after was all said and done I ended up with 9 nonpayments.
We spent 10+ days without power, worked around the clock taking care of displaced patients, and when the power did come back internet was sparse and comms were a mess. Further to that direct deposits, payroll, checks, etc were all delayed for weeks. Our banks were dead in the water for weeks as well. Most reputable organizations were understanding. Car loans, mortgages, utilities, credit card companies, etc all gave sufficient grace periods.
The one place I got grilled was on eBay.
With that being said, some buyers will take advantage of just about anything to get out of paying. To verify who deserves your grace or not, I recommend doing a little research--find out where they live and compare it to the path and destruction of Sandy.
Had any of the sellers who hammered me during a tremendously trying time bothered to consider and verify what I, my family, and community were dealing with, they may have given me a better chance to make good. I eventually made good on every transaction--but I can tell u this, during and for sometime after such a traumatic experience making good on eBay is not a high priority.
Trust but verify, be patient and give those truly affected some time.